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Avalanche Can Take Commanding Lead in Game 3

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

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Avalanche Can Take Commanding Lead in Game 3
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild web staff contributed to this story.

Colorado leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

TV: Altitude, NHL Network, TSN, RDS, Fox Sports North

Big story: With home ice and, perhaps more importantly, the ability to match lines, Minnesota will look to get back into this series by slowing down Colorado's trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon. That line combined for 10 points Saturday night in Colorado's 4-2 win in Game 2 in Denver, with Stastny and MacKinnon becoming the first Avalanche teammates to ever have four points apeice in the same playoff game.

Landeskog broke Game 2's 1-1 tie and then potted the eventual game winner recording his first career playoff multi-goal game.


Avalanche: Steady goaltending and timely scoring have been the calling cards of the Avalanche during the regular season and in the first two games against the Wild. For Colorado to continue its success it will likely have to continue to excel in those areas as the series shifts to Minnesota. These teams have played nip-and-tuck games all sesaon long (Avs lead 6-0-1) but with the line of Landeskog, Stastny and MacKinnon hitting on all cylinders, the Avalanche has been able to dial up goals virtually on demand.

That line scored all four goals Saturday as well as the tying and overtime goals in Colorado's 5-4 win in Game 1 on Thursday.

"It's fun to watch them. It's pretty impressive," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "When you make it to the playoffs, your best players need to be your best players in order for you to have a chance to win. These three guys have done a super job."

"It’s obviously going to be a tough one against Minnesota Monday night," MacKinnon said. "We want to have a hold on the series, but [Saturday's] was a well-rounded win."

Wild: With the ability to make the last change Minnesota coach Mike Yeo will have the opportunity to use the players he feels are best able to try and slow down the MacKinnon-Stastny-Landeskog line. When the Wild needed a stop against the NHL's best lines during the regular season, veteran wing Matt Cooke and his third line were charged with doing so. But Yeo said he feels like he has plenty of options besides that group, including Mikko Koivu, who Yeo said is one of the best defensive centers in the League.

"I believe the guy should be a Selke [Trophy] candidate every year," Yeo said.

Yeo said he's also seen enough from his other centers, Mikael Granlund, Kyle Brodziak and Erik Haula, that he feels comfortable putting any of their lines out against the MacKinnon-Stastny-Landeskog trio.

"We've played against other great players this year, and we've done the job against them," Yeo said. "For me, it's just a matter of resetting and getting back to our game. Obviously, getting home, will give us that opportunity."

Who's hot: MacKinnon's seven points in Games 1 and 2 match the NHL mark for the most in a player's first two career Stanley Cup Playoff games, and he is the fourth player to score three or more points in each of the first two playoff games in a career. … Stastny's career playoff-high four points (goal, three assists) Saturday and three points (two goals, assist) in Game 1 on Thursday made him the first Avalanche player to record consecutive three-point games in the postseason since Theo Fleury from May 1-3, 1999. ... MacKinnon matched him in that stat late in Saturday's game.

Wild forward Charlie Coyle has a goal in each game of the series after he had five goals and 10 points during the final 12 games of the regular season.

Injury report: Colorado forwards Matt Duchene (knee) and John Mitchell (head) are both on the trip but will not play in Game 3, Roy said. Forward Alex Tanguay (hip) has begun light skating but remains out for the season. Duchene, the Avs' regular-season scoring leader, is expected to skate for the first time since the injury on Monday. He was injured March 29 at home against San Jose.

"We'll see how it goes," Roy said. "We're certainly not going to push it."

Minnesota will be without defenseman Keith Ballard (groin) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness). Forward Jason Zucker (quad) and goaltender Niklas Backstrom (abdominal) are out for the season.

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 17 '14 MIN 4 at COL 5 - OT P. Stastny
Apr 19 '14 MIN 2 at COL 4 G. Landeskog
Apr 21 '14 COL 0 at MIN 1 - OT M. Granlund
Apr 24 '14 COL 1 at MIN 2 C. Coyle
Apr 26 '14 MIN 3 at COL 4 - OT N. MacKinnon
Apr 28 '14 COL 2 at MIN 5 Z. Parise
Apr 30 '14 MIN 5 at COL 4 - OT N. Niederreiter
P. Stastny3347+2011
N. MacKinnon3167+5200
G. Landeskog3303+2001
R. O'Reilly3112+3000
J. McGinn3112+0000
T. Barrie3022+3000
N. Holden3011+2400
E. Johnson3011-1200
A. Benoit3000+2200
P. Parenteau3000+0200
N. Guenin3000+0200
M. Talbot3000-1400
P. Bordeleau3000-1000
C. McLeod3000-11200
M. Cliche3000-1200
P. Carey3000-1000
B. Malone3000-1200
J. Hejda3000-2600
S. Varlamov32-171112.21.937
Z. Parise3044-1400
M. Koivu3033-1200
C. Coyle3202-2200
R. Suter3112-1210
M. Scandella3112-1000
E. Haula3101+1000
M. Granlund3101+1001
K. Brodziak2101-3200
M. Cooke3011-1600
J. Pominville3011-1000
N. Niederreiter3011-1400
J. Brodin3011-2000
N. Prosser3000+2200
C. McCormick3000+11400
C. Stoner3000+1400
M. Moulson3000+0000
J. Spurgeon3000-3000
S. Veilleux2000+1200
D. Heatley1000+0000
J. Fontaine1000+0000
D. Kuemper21-00360.001.000
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