Sport

Avalanche closes in on the Predators sweep for the third straight year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gabriel Landeskog scored twice in the second half and the top-seeded Colorado Avalanche defeated the Nashville Predators 7-3 on Saturday to maintain a comfortable 3-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series to achieve.

Landeskog also had two assists. Nazem Kadri and Devon Toews each added a goal and an assist, and Artturi Lehkonen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a power-play goal as Colorado went 4-5 on man advantage to bring Nashville to the brink of elimination. Cale Makar had three assists.

Valeri Nichushkin added an empty goal with 2:46 left. The Avs had a couple of missed opportunities when Nashville goaltender Connor Ingram pulled with more than 4 minutes left.

Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper was injured a minute before the end of the first period. Pavel Francouz replaced him and made 20 saves in his seventh playoff appearance of his career.

Matt Duchene, Eeli Tolvanen and captain Roman Josi each scored for Nashville. Alexandre Carrier had two assists.

This is the first time in a series that the Predators are trailing 3-0 and they will try not to be swept for the first time in their 15 playoff appearances in Game 4 on Monday night.

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (centre) celebrates his goal with left winger Gabriel Landeskog (left) in Saturday's first period.
Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (centre) celebrates his goal with left winger Gabriel Landeskog (left) in Saturday’s first period.
AP

Colorado simply dominated the Predators, outplaying them 16-6 with a 137-81 shooting difference in the first three games.

Lehkonen put the Avs back on the board first, mid-first, on another Nashville penalty, deflecting a slapshot from Toews. MacKinnon made it 2-0 just 21 seconds after the Avs had a 16:07 lead as the next man.

Duchene put Nashville on the board and hit with a wrister at 17:37. Then Predators center Ryan Johansen’s bat hit Kuemper’s face, and Francouz replaced him at the net.

The Predators scored two man-advantage goals in the second half, with Tolvanen scoring from the point in the left faceoff circle at 5:41. Landeskog defeated Ingram with a backhander midway through the second to a 3-2 lead, then Josi equalized 12-11 with a slap shot from the blue line.

Landeskog scored his second at 14:02 to give Colorado the lead to stay.

The Avs had another man advantage when Nashville lost their challenge from Landeskog’s goal to Lehkonen, who disrupted Ingram after Predators forward Mikael Granlund was blamed for the contact. When Ingram played the puck behind the net, lost the puck and just 39 seconds later Kadri hit the open net to take a 5-3 lead.

Toews padded the lead with a shot from the top of the left circle midway through the third.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/07/avalanche-close-in-on-sweep-of-predators-with-third-straight/ Avalanche closes in on the Predators sweep for the third straight year

JOE HERNANDEZ

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