Avs Return Home Tied One Game Each With Flames

Matt Nieto - Derek Leung/Getty Images

Matt Nieto (left of 34) of the Colorado Avalanche is surrounded by teammates after scoring against the Calgary Flames in Game Two of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 13. (Photo: Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Road wins are huge in the playoffs.

Saturday night, Colorado Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon helped deliver one.

MacKinnon beat Flames goalie Mike Smith with a wrist shot at 8:27 of overtime to give the Avs a 3-2 win and send the series to Denver tied at one game each.

After a scoreless first period, Avalanche forward Matt Nieto got Colorado on the scoreboard with a shorthanded goal at 7:16 of the second.

The Flames then scored two straight goals to take a 2-1 lead with 7:33 left in the third period.

But just under five minutes later, J.T. Compher tied the game for the Avs with only 2:39 left in regulation.

That set the stage for MacKinnon, who fired 12 shots on goal in the game.

Avs goalie Phillip Grubauer was terrific, making 35 saves and picking up a huge win on the road.

Game three will be at Pepsi Center in Denver on Monday night. Faceoff is at 8 p.m. MDT.

The Avalanche also signed defenseman Cale Makar, the club's first round draft pick in 2017 (4th overall), to an entry-level contract. Makar just won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey. Makar helped lead the UMass Minutemen to the national championship game. UMass lost to Minnesota-Duluth, 3-0, in the title game on Saturday night.

Avs head coach Jared Bednar said he expects Makar to play in the playoff series against the Flames.

Upon arriving back in Denver on Sunday, April 14, MacKinnon spoke with reporters.

 

Goalie Philipp Grubauer spoke with reporters on Sunday.

 

Head coach Jared Bednar spoke with reporters on Sunday.

 

Here's MacKinnon's game-winning goal on Saturday night.

 

AVALANCHE SIGNS MAKAR

TO ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT

Hobey Baker Winner To Join Avalanche Immediately

DENVER –The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed defenseman Cale Makar to a three-year, entry-level contract. He will join the Avalanche immediately for its Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Calgary Flames.

Makar, 20, just completed his sophomore season at the University of Massachusetts, helping the Minutemen reach the NCAA Frozen Four Championship Game. The Calgary, Alberta, native was named the winner of the 2019 Hobey Baker Award, becoming the first player in school history to win college hockey’s top individual prize. 

Selected by Colorado in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Makar was voted the Hockey East Player of the Year by unanimous selection and was named an AHCA First Team (East) All-American. He also received the Leonard Fowle Award as New England Player of the Year. 

“Cale obviously had a tremendous season, winning the Hobey Baker and getting his team to the Frozen Four,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President/General Manager Joe Sakic. “He is a game-changing type of player who made a lasting impact on the UMass hockey program. We are excited to have him join our team.”

In addition to leading UMass to its first-ever Frozen Four, Makar also helped the Minutemen to their first No. 1 ranking in school history, set program records in wins and conference wins, and capture the team's first-ever Hockey East regular-season championship. Makar was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Northeast Regional.

Makar led Hockey East and ranked first nationally among all NCAA defensemen with 49 points (16g/33a) in 41 games. He was the first defenseman in history to lead Hockey East in overall scoring and broke the UMass single-season school record for points by a defenseman, topping the previous mark of 41 set by Thomas Poeck in 2003-04. His 1.20 points-per-game average ranked eighth among all NCAA skaters. Makar, the Minutemen’s alternate captain, totaled 30 points (8g/22a) in 24 conference games (1.25 per contest), first among blueliners and second overall in the league. He was recognized as Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week three times this season, Player of the Week three times and was the Hockey East Player of the Month in October. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound rearguard was the first player in school history to win league player of the year.

As a freshman in 2017-18, Makar was a Hockey East Third-Team All-Star and was selected to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. He tallied 21 points (5g/16a) in 34 games, finishing second on the Minutemen in assists and fifth in scoring. 

Makar helped Team Canada win the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo. He was named to the tournament’s all-star team after recording eight points (3g/5a) in seven games, tops among Canadian defensemen and tied for first among all blueliners.

The highest drafted defenseman in Avalanche history, Makar was named the 2016-17 Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player, Alberta Junior Hockey League Most Valuable Player and the AJHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman in his final season with the Brooks Bandits. He led all AJHL defensemen in scoring with 75 points (24g/51a) in 54 games, a total that finished sixth overall in the league. Makar added 18 points (5g/13a) in 13 playoff contests to help the Bandits to their second consecutive AJHL championship, earning playoff MVP honors. He was the AJHL’s rookie of the year during the previous season in 2015-16.

Rated as the No. 1 North American defenseman in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2017 draft, Makar was the highest-ever draft pick from the AJHL. 

- AVS -

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