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Avalanche, MacKinnon keep Flames from stealing Game 2

Nathan MacKinnon beats Mike Smith top shelf in overtime as the Avalanche defeat the Flames, 3-2, to tie up the series at a game apiece.

Despite being the team that barely made it into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it felt like the Avalanche were close to having a game stolen from them.

Colorado was carrying much of the play, yet the Calgary Flames forced Game 2 to overtime thanks mostly to Mike Smith’s fantastic work (again) in net. Ultimately, two Avs made sure that Colorado got the win they worked so hard for. First, Philipp Grubauer made a fantastic save, then Nathan MacKinnon used his blazing speed and dangerous shot to score an OT goal that even a boiling-hot netminder couldn’t stop.

With the Avalanche’s 3-2 OT win, they head home to Colorado with the series tied 1-1. Not bad against the Flames, aka the West’s top seed.

That MacKinnon goal was a true beauty:


The tension really escalated in Game 2, with Ian Cole taking a bad penalty on a hit on James Neal, while Samuel Girard’s health is in question after he left the contest in apparent pain. Defense isn’t the greatest area of strength for Colorado, so that’s a concern.

As fantastic as this breakthrough season has been for the Flames, the Avalanche have basically been battling for their survival for months now. Maybe those stakes explain why they’re so focused right now, but either way, it seems like Colorado could make this an interesting Round 1 series.

Avalanche - Flames Game 3 takes place at the Pepsi Center at 10 p.m. ET on Monday (CNBC; livestream)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.