Blocked Shots, Kuemper Carry Coyotes to Game Three Win

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Darcy Kuemper made 49 saves and the Arizona Coyotes defence blocked 27 shots to lead them to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

Pavel Francouz was given the start in place of Philipp Grubauer in game three due to the back-to-back. The Coyotes welcomed Francouz to the series with a flurry to start the period. It didn’t take long for them to strike as Derek Stepan scored his first of the playoffs. After a Nazem Kadri turnover in the Avalanche end, Clayton Keller found Stepan in the slot for the one-timer glove side.

After the goal, the period was all Avalanche. They took the next nine shots as Darcy Kuemper was forced to make several great saves. The Avalanche were given lots of space in the offensive zone and continued to create scoring chances. They ended the first period with a whopping 20 shots, but no goals as the Coyotes held a 1-0 lead after one.

The momentum for Colorado continued into the second as they continued to pepper Kuemper and held the Coyotes without a shot for nearly six minutes. The game continued to look more and more like game one with pure domination from the Avs but no goals to show for it.

This finally changed at the 13:12 mark. Just as the Coyotes second consecutive penalty expired, Andre Burakovsky shot one through traffic that deflected off a defender and past Kuemper to tie the game at one.

The onslaught continued as the Avalanche added 16 more shots in the second to their 20 from the first. However, it was the Coyotes who came out of the second period with the lead. Brad Richardson scored his second of the playoffs with 34 seconds to play in the period. Conor Garland found him wide open in the left circle and he fired a laser past Francouz. The period came to a close with the Coyotes up 2-1 after two. Shots through two periods were 36-16, Avalanche.

The Coyotes managed to slow down the Avalanche attack in the third. The Avs managed very few quality scoring chances in the period. Kuemper continued to stand on his head and make save after save, but the Coyotes defense blocked a lot of shots as well.

The Avalanche pulled Francouz with 2:34 remaining in regulation. Taylor Hall ended up taking advantage as he scored the empty netter to make it 3-1. However, it wasn’t over yet as on their 51st shot of the game, the Avalanche finally broke through Kuemper off the stick of Mikko Rantanen. He fired what appeared to be a pass but bounced off the skates of two Coyotes before sneaking past Kuemper.

That was all the Avalanche were able to muster. Cale Makar, who had a phenomenal game, let a puck slip past him on the boards late. Lawson Crouse scooped up the loose puck and scored the empty netter to seal the game up, 4-2.

Final shots for the game were 51-23 in favor of the Avalanche. The win by the Coyotes trims the series lead down to 2-1 in favor of Colorado. Game four will take place Monday, August 17th at 5:30 pm.

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Photo Credit: Dinur Blum (@Rabbi_d), via Flickr.

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Riley McPherson is a 27-year-old writer from Southwest Michigan. She won 3 Student MAB awards while attending Grand Valley State University as both a radio broadcaster and sports anchor. She is a fan of Detroit sports, the University of Michigan and is a big Premier League and Aussie Rules football fanatic. She also hosts her own Michigan sports podcast called Great Lakes Sports Takes.