Denver Sports Omelette: Avalanche keys to victory against the Flames in Game 4

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Star power. Avalanche superstar center Nathan MacKinnon has outplayed Calgary standout left winger Johnny Gaudreau, and it’s not even close. MacKinnon has three goals (two on the power play) and four points in the series. Gaudreau has one assist. The elite forwards tied for seventh in NHL scoring in the regular season with 99 points but MacKinnon has the big edge thus far. Also, Avs’ right winger Mikko Rantanen (goal, three assists) is having a more productive series than Flames top-line center Sean Monahan (goal, assist). If MacKinnon and Rantanen continue to fuel the offense, the Avs have the edge.

Twin 20s. Avalanche rookie defenseman Cale Makar is expected to play in his second career NHL game after making his impressive debut in Game 3 on Monday. But fellow 20-year-old blueliner Sam Girard — whom Makar replaced in the lineup — could return from the upper-body injury he sustained in Game 2. If Girard is cleared, both he and Makar are expected to be in the lineup, but the question is, will the Avalanche feature an extra defenseman (seven) and one less forward (11) or will the club scratch a veteran defenseman like Patrik Nemeth or Nikita Zadorov? Coach Jared Bednar on Tuesday was unsure of what he might do with his deep D-corps.

Special teams. Colorado began the series 0-for-8 on the power play but capitalized with man-advantage opportunities twice early in Game 3. The Flames scored a power-play goal in that game — their fourth of the series — but surrendered a shorthanded goal on the same power play. The Avs’ Matt Nieto scored on the penalty kill in Games 2 and 3 to become the first player in NHL history to score shorthanded goals in consecutive playoff games since 2012. Since losing Game 1 by going 0-for-4 on the power play and allowing two power-play goals, the Avs have evened the score heading into Game 4.

Mike Chambers, The Denver Post


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What’s on Tap?

  • Avalanche: Calgary Flames, 8 p.m. Wednesday, ALT/NBCSN | Buy tickets
  • Nuggets: At San Antonio Spurs, 7 p.m. Thursday, ALT/NBA | Buy tickets
  • Rockies: Philadelphia Phillies, 6:40 p.m. Thursday, ATTRM | Buy tickets

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Scoreboard

NBA: Nuggets 114, Spurs 105
Full story | Box score

MLB: Rockies 8, Padres 2
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Quick Hits

+ Chad Bettis “prepared for whatever” in new bullpen role; several Rockies near return from injured list

+ Avalanche balance toughness and smarts as Flames ignite playoff physicality

+ NFL draft preview: Iowa tight end duo expected to make history

+ Broncos Briefs: For Vic Fangio, “good” to be on the practice field for first time as coach

+ Spurs guard Bryn Forbes takes matchup with Gary Harris, Nuggets “personally”

+ New deal with Seahawks makes Russell Wilson highest-paid NFL player

+ Demaryius Thomas signs with New England Patriots

+ Lions QB Matthew Stafford sits out workout as wife has brain tumor

Post Mailbag forms

+ Broncos Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Ryan O’Halloran here.

+ Nuggets Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Singer here.

+ Avs Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Chambers here.

+ Rockies Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Patrick Saunders here.

By The Numbers

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Parting Shot

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Get in Touch

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at dboniface@denverpost.com or tweet me @danielboniface.

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