Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen scored in a span of 1:28 to start the third period and the Colorado Avalanche blew out the Seattle Kraken’s first home playoff game with a 6-4 victory Saturday night in Game 3 of the first round series.
Tied at 3 after a wild first 40 minutes, the defending Stanley Cup champions relied on their best players to take a 2-1 series lead and regain home field advantage.
MacKinnon scored his first two goals of the playoffs, Cale Makar added his first of this postseason after winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of last year’s championship run, and Rantanen scored for the second straight game, capping the win with an empty net. goal with 2:14 to play.
MacKinnon scored on a runaway late in the first period to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. His second goal was even better, taking advantage of Seattle’s fourth line getting stuck in the ice and ripping a wrist shot past Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer for a 5-3 lead.
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MacKinnon’s second goal came moments after Rantanen finished off a 3-on-2 run and silenced the fans in a frenzy after the Seattle rally in the second period.
JT Compher scored from behind in the first period and Makar’s goal at 4:33 of the second period gave the Avalanche a 3–1 lead. Makar’s goal came off a clean victory for Colorado and left Seattle fans murmuring with discomfort instead of the deafening cheers in the early moments of the game.
Alexandar Georgiev made 26 saves for the avalanche. Game 4 is Monday night in Seattle.
Jaden Schwartz became the answer to a trivia question when he gave Seattle a 1-0 lead and Justin Schultz’s shot went past Georgiev just 6:08 into the game. Jamie Oleksiak and Matty Beniers then scored from 19 seconds apart during a wild sequence in the second period to tie Seattle.
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Oleksiak’s seventh career playoff goal was a clever backhand finisher after driving the stick through several Colorado defenders and Beniers scored the first of what Seattle hopes will be many playoff goals at 1:10 p.m. of the second period.
But Colorado controlled the third period. Schwartz scored his second with 40 seconds remaining in the game.
Grubauer made 28 saves for Seattle.
The first home playoff game in Kraken history found fans lining up outside Climate Pledge Arena well before the doors opened and in the thick of the gorge with the puck finally dropped just after 7pm local time. It was the first home game in Kraken history, but the Stanley Cup games were played in Seattle — 104 years ago, to be exact, when the 1919 Stanley Cup final between Seattle and Montreal was abandoned after the Game. 5 due to a flu pandemic.
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Both Colorado and Seattle had unexpected scratches in the starting lineup. The Kraken was without F Morgan Geekie, who missed the game after his wife went into labor. Geekie scored Seattle’s third goal in their Game 1 win. Colorado was without F Valeri Nichushkin and C Darren Helm. Helm missed Game 1 but returned in Game 2.