The Colorado Avalanche came into Game 2 on a mission, and for Nathan Mackinnon, he proved why he is considered one of the best in the NHL as he led Colorado in both attempted shots on goal, shots on goal and scored the winning goal in overtime.
MacKinnon was a force to reckon with all night, and after a J.T Compher tied the game late in the third to force overtime, it was MacKinnon who got the job done scoring just over eight minutes into the overtime period to give Colorado a 3-2 victory and tie the series 1-1.
The lead up to the winning goal started after Michael Frolik was stopped by Philipp Grubauer who sent the puck up the ice. That was picked up by Mikko Rantanen, who then passed it to MacKinnon as he came down the left wing and fired off a shot to beat Mike Smith. Commenting on the play, MacKinnon said,
“Mikko and I tried to get ahead of their (forward) that was on me. I got a step and Mikko made a great pass. A little saucer pass, I managed to get another step on that weak-side D to get a shot off and I put it where I wanted to.”
The comments about his teammates left them in awe and saw goaltender Mike Smith calling MacKinnon a world-class player adding,
“If you give him too many open looks, he’s going to find a way to get one past you, sooner or later. He ripped that one pretty good there. Obviously, you’d like to get a piece of it, but it is what it is.”
MacKinnon led the team with seven shots on goal and also has twelve other attempts in his 26:26 time on the ice with only captain Mark Giordano and Tyson Barrie playing more last night. Gabriel Landeskog, who plays on MacKinnon’s line said,
“I’ve said it before. Nate’s a superstar and that’s what superstars do.”
J.T. Compher and Matt Nieto also scored for the Colorado Avalanche and scoring for Calgary were Sean Monahan and Rasmus Andersson. The series now heads to Colorado for Game 3, and with both teams fighting hard, it is anyone’s guess who will come away with a win on Monday night. Sportsbooks such as 888Sport are offering strong odds for the Calgary Flames, and with up to $250 in new punter bonuses available, registering and placing your bets early is advantageous.
Mike Smith stopped 36 shots, and Philipp Grubauer has 35. For Calgary’s Sam Bennett, he felt Colorado seemed hungrier adding that it appeared they wanted the win more. He continued by saying,
“No one is happy with the way we played in the first couple periods. (Smith) bailed us out too many times to count. He’s been playing great and we’ve got to do a better job in front of him.”
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, coach of the Colorado Avalanche, stated that he felt if not for Grubauer’s performance, Colorado easily could have been down two games. Bednar added,
“First of all, Grubauer makes the save and it’s a big save because of the time and the score, and you’re in overtime and he made a lot of big saves tonight, as did Smith, but to give us that save at that time… Then we get up the ice and Rantanen and MacKinnon execute unbelievably and we get the goal.”
There was some drama in the third after the Avalanche tied the game, which was the first playoff goal in his career for T.J. Compher. The goal came after the puck bounced across the ice after Rantanen sent a pass to Landeskog which bounced off his skate. It then proceeded to bounce off the skates of Calgary’s Travis Hamonic before T.J. Compher sent a backhand past Mike Smith.
Sean Monahan gave Calgary the lead in the third period but failed to maintain it after Compher’s goal saw the forcing of overtime in what could have been a win for Calgary. Commenting, Mark Giordano said,
“We have to be better. We have to be a lot harder to play against and we know that. A tough way to lose, but there’s these moments all the time in playoffs and you’ve got to deal with them and move on.”