Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar combined for seven points to help the Colorado Avalanche get past the Seattle Kraken, 6-4 in game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal before 17,151 fans at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday.
The Kraken, opening their doors to their first home playoff game in franchise history before a blistering loud crowd, fell 2-1 in the series. Game 4 is Monday at 7pm (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) in Seattle.
COMPLETE RADIO GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Jaden Schwartz delivered the first home goal in Kraken playoff history, while Colorado's 3-1 lead was erased by a pulsating rally from Jamie Oleksiak and Matty Beniers, who scored his first career postseason goal, in a span of 19 seconds in the second period. But in a testimony of star power, Colorado put the game away courtesy Rantanen (two goals including an empty netter), and MacKinnon, scoring a highlight-reel game winner.
1. WE KNEW IT WOULD BE LOUD. IT WAS (FILL IN YOUR OWN ADJECTIVE) LOUD. On brand Seattle came to play in an environment that rivaled some of the noisiest buildings ever in the NHL, in a quick poll of colleagues at press row during Game 3. Seattle fans, of course, are known for their volume. Many allegiances are intersected across several sports teams in the area. It didn’t disappoint on Saturday night. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Kam Chancellor, and Detlef Schrempf were among the celebrities in attendance, for a moment to savor forever.
A sharp and piercing, “Let’s Go Kraken” permeated the air from puck drop and delivered thundering decibels when Jaden Schwartz put the Kraken up 1-0 for the third straight game in the series and Matty Beniers delivered a game-tying rally from down 3-1 in the second period. This kind of volume is a morale busting weapon in future games. The Kraken had it in their favor, until …
2. COLORADO’S SUPERSTARS RAN WILD. Let’s face it, they changed the game. All three mentioned above combined for seven points. Nathan MacKinnon went into “cheat code” mode and turned the game upside down for the Avalanche’s first lead on a partial breakaway goal in the first period, then stashed the game’s result out of reach when he stickhandled and twisted through defensive competition for over 20 seconds for the eventual game winner. There are not many superstars like MacKinnon on planet earth, who willed his way to a Game 3 performance that was standout worthy, owning a pair of shot blocks and a 9-of-15 effort also at the face-off circle.
Mikko Rantanen chipped in with a pair of timely third period goals to lead the Avalanche offense, while Cale Makar busted onto the scoresheet with a second period blast. They were difference makers, and a battle to handle containment assignments from the Kraken side will be of paramount importance for the remainder of the series.
3. SPECIAL TEAMS TURNAROUND: CAN IT HAPPEN MONDAY?. One lesson in handling a favorite in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is to get your house in order at five-on-five. The Kraken did that, and almost lapped the Avalanche in the first 80 minutes of this series. The other is limiting special teams miscues. For the Kraken on Saturday, unfortunately, too many came back to haunt them. J.T. Compher scored a shorthanded goal, getting past a fallen Daniel Sprong, to tie the game and swing momentum back to Colorado before MacKinnon tacked on his first goal, turning on the afterburners past the Kraken defense. The Kraken power play went empty in five chances before Schwartz scored his second goal of the night in the final minute, though under circumstances where the game was incredibly out of reach. It leaves the Kraken with a challenge to maintain a game like in the first period in game one - controlling play at five-on-five, while keeping the Avs’ sixth ranked power play and open ice for their stars on the shelf.
KRAKEN LINEUP VS. COLORADO, GAME 4