DENVER (AP) — Cale Makar scored 8:31 into overtime, Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves on his 32nd birthday and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead. during the playoffs of the first round series.
Makar got the rebound in the middle of the offensive zone and lined it up through traffic to spark the celebration.
Nathan MacKinnon also scored for Colorado, which faced a more intense Nashville defense after winning 7-2 in Game 1. The Predators blocked 34 shots.
The series moves to Nashville for Game 3 on Saturday.
Yakov Trenin scored for Nashville.
Connor Ingram stepped in and stopped 48 shots in his first playoff start. He allowed MacKinnon’s goal on the first shot of the game and held it all back until Makar’s goal.
Ingram, 25, relieved David Rittich in Game 1 after the Avalanche scored five goals in the first period. The Predators remain without top goaltender Juuse Saros, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury but could be back later in the series.
Since moving to Denver, the Avalanche are 14-2 in a best-of-seven playoff series when they won the first two games.
Colorado was disallowed a goal in the closing seconds of the second period for interference with a goalie. Artturi Lehkonen fell on Ingram before a shot from Valeri Nichushkin entered. The Avalanche challenged the play and officials upheld the replay call.
That put Nashville on the power play to start the third. Shortly after, the Predators had a 5-3 advantage for 1:52 when Nichushkin went to the penalty box for a high stick. But they couldn’t capitalize. The best chance to score was Makar on a breakaway, only for his shot to land in Ingram’s glove.
Ingram was at his best in the third period when he stopped a point-blank shot by Nazem Kadri with his left pad. Ingram spent most of the season with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League, where he went 30-17-9. He appeared in three regular season games for Nashville this season.
Both teams struggled on the power play, going 0 for 8. There were a total of 110 hits.
The first period was very different for the Predators from Game 1, when they allowed five goals. This time they outshot the Avalanche by an 11-8 margin.
Trenin tied the game at 1 apiece with 4:41 left in the first. He celebrated by jumping into the boards behind the goal.
MacKinnon scored the first goal on the game’s first shot at 5:25 into action. He lined up a stickside shot from Ingram on a mini breakaway. MacKinnon had 73 points (31 goals, 42 assists) in 52 career playoff games.
Ingram has become a mental health advocate, speaking out about managing obsessive-compulsive disorder. He participated in an NHL Player Assistance Program over a year ago.
“It was also a time in his life where he hit rock bottom, but he also felt really supported,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “He grew in so many ways as a person, and also as a player.”
Predators defenseman Roman Josi has set Trenin’s goal of giving him 31 career playoff assists. It ties Ryan Ellis for the most in Predators history.
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