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Avalanche bury Predators in first game

Sportsnaut
May 3, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) shoots the puck in the second period of game one against the Nashville Predators of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, Cale Makar had a goal and two assists, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Nashville Predators 7-2 in Game 1 of their first-round series in Denver on Tuesday night.

Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup, Artturi Lehkonen and Devon Toews also scored, Mikko Rantanen had three assists and Darcy Kuemper stopped 23 shots for the Avalanche.

Andrew Cogliano had a goal before leaving the game with an upper-body injury in the second period.

Matt Duchene scored two goals for the Predators, and Mikael Granlund had two assists and Connor Ingram had 30 saves in relief of David Rittich. Nashville’s top goaltender, Juuse Saros, is out with an ankle sprain.

Game 2 is Thursday night in Denver.

Colorado jumped on the Predators early. MacKinnon opened the scoring 2:20 into the game, and Toews made it 2-0 off a power play when he beat Rittich 22 seconds after MacKinnon’s goal.

Nashville had a chance to cut into the lead when Toews went off for roughing at 6:47, but it was Colorado that converted. Mattias Ekholm lost control of the puck in the slot, and Cogliano picked it up and beat Rittich at 8:30.

The Avalanche struck again when Makar skated in on Rittich and roofed a shot over his left shoulder at 12:15 to make it 4-0. Lehkonen finished off the scoring barrage when he beat Rittich to the short side at 15:04.

Ingram replaced Rittich after he allowed five goals on 13 shots.

Ingram kept the Avalanche off the board until a 5-on-3 advantage in the second period. Landeskog, who was playing for the first time since March 10, was credited with a goal that was knocked in by the leg of Nashville’s Mark Borowiecki at 14:44.

Duchene finally put the Predators on the board when he scored a power-play goal at 18:40 of the second period. MacKinnon made it 7-1 at 6:03 of the third and Duchene answered at 12:26.

–Field Level Media