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Game 3 Recap: 3rd period causes Avalanche for Jets

Apr 26, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Miles Wood (28) and Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry (17) fight in the third period in game three of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Mischief managed.

That is how the Colorado Avalanche are feeling after defeating the Winnipeg Jets 6-2 in Game Three on Friday night. Ball Arena was rocking for the home team, and they showed all their might in the final frame.

Five third-period goals, all unanswered from the Avs led the way in an amazing showing in the final 20 minutes. Winnipeg had no such response and was buried in the Avalanche, and now have work to do down 2-1 in the series. But here’s how all the drama went down in a great game.

First Period 

Alexandar Georgiev got his work in early with some big saves, including a big save on a wraparound chance. Mikko Rantanen was also taken down with a slew foot but was not called in an overall even start to the game. 

But then, the Avs started to crawl into the game. Artturi Lehkonen and Casey Mittelstadt both had great looks denied by Connor Hellebuyck, while Nathan MacKinnon hit the crossbar. 

Eventually, Colorado would convert. It would come from a Josh Manson shot, which rebounded to Zach Parise who got it home for the lead going into the break. 

Second Period

Winnipeg used some late pressure from the first to their advantage to open the frame. Eventually, they broke through during an onslaught of offense with Tyler Toffoli scoring from a tight angle. 

While Rantanen was denied on a breakaway at one end, it would be the Jets finding the next goal. When Mittelstadt went off for hooking, it would be Josh Morrissey blasting one home for the lead. 

Offense and chances then became aplenty as the game became wide-open. Georgiev robbed Toffoli on a breakaway, while MacKinnon went the other way on a breakaway and was denied himself. He, Lehkonen, and Rantanen all got great looks when Adam Lowry went off for slashing but didn’t find the twine. 

The Avs would find the net late on in the period, but the goal would be waved off. MacKinnon’s rush-in was crashed by Valeri Nichushkin and took the net off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. Hence, the Avs had work to do going into the final 20 minutes. 

Third Period 

Work they did, the Avalanche that is. Colorado came out flying from the room, causing Mason Appleton to take a tripping penalty. MacKinnon would blast one home from the point in said man advantage to tie it up at two. 

There would then be a massive scare for Devon Toews, who took a stick up high by Gabriel Vilardi which initially went uncalled. Toews stayed down for a long time getting attention from the trainers and a pool of blood on the ice from a cut on his face. 

Eventually, the referees would make the right call and call the four-minute double minor. The Avs did their damage then, with Nichushkin recording the go-ahead goal. 

While Ross Colton just missed doubling the lead on the breakaway, Colorado didn’t have to wait long to break through again. With Toews somehow back on the ice after his injury, he helped assist Mittelstadt who found Lehkonen on a 2-on-1 in a phenomenal play. 

With the Jets collapsing and taking penalties left right and center, it left the Avs with a short 5-on-3 and another long power play opportunity. Colton would take advantage this time around with a tip in front as the man advantage expired to all but put the game to bed. 

Rantanen took a late holding penalty, and Rick Bowness pulled Hellebuyck with 3:45 left, down three and looking for anything in 6-on-4 play. But, it would be Toews finishing off his own “Off the floor, on the board” scenario with a long empty netter. 

But the action wasn’t done just yet. There would be mass chaos to end the game. Winnipeg would be frustrated with their fall in the final frame and created tons of scrums and fights up to the final whistle. 

Yeti Takeaways

What a roller coaster of a game ending with a massive high for the Avalanche. They started even in the first period with a slight advantage, before then falling a step behind in the middle period. But, they really stepped it up in the third period with five goals, all unanswered in the final frame. It was a team performance up and down the lineup with standouts including Mittelstadt, Toews, and MacKinnon. Regardless, it was an incredible team effort and every player deserves their flowers. Is it bad to say it certainly gave 2022 vibes of outright domination?

Individual honors should go to Georgiev for his performances. After giving up a shaky first goal on Toffoli from a tight angle, he rebounded brilliantly. There wasn’t much he could do on the second goal when he was screened by Manson in front of him but made some crucial saves. Particularly, the save on the breakaway on Toffoli when the Jets were ahead in the second and looking for more was a turning point in the game. It continued to show he’s left Game One behind him and continued his great performance from Game Two. It must’ve certainly helped to be back on home ice, where he was showered with “Georgie!” chants consistently throughout the night.

With the win, the Avs have taken a 2-1 series lead and continue to hold home-ice advantage. To think they could have a 3-0 series lead if Game One went differently is now an afterthought. Nonetheless, Game Four remains to be an ever-crucial game for both teams. After Sunday afternoon, we could be talking about a 3-1 series lead with a chance to win in Winnipeg or the series being a best of three with both teams winning two games through four games. Colorado was in this scenario last season against the Seattle Kraken and lost in OT in Game Four. Hence, they will be looking for a different result in another massive game – at least differently to the Seattle series, this one will be occurring at Ball Arena.

Next on the Mountain

Colorado plays host to the Jets for Game Four on a Sunday afternoon matinee. Puck drop is an early 12:30 p.m. MT.