The Wraparound: Avs gaining confidence as they head home for Game 3

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down each day’s matchups with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

Reunited and it felt so good.

The Colorado Avalanche evened their Round 2 series with the San Jose Sharks via a 4-3 win on Sunday night. They were carried to victory after head coach Jared Bednar put his top three forwards back together. Mikko Rantanen started the series with Colin Wilson and Carl Soderberg, but needing to give his offense a boost, Bednar put him back with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon and it paid off with as they combined for five points and had a hand in three of the four goals.

Given their experience playing together, there was no need for a period of reacquainting with one another.

“The chemistry between us is that we’ve played together over 150 games in the last two years, so there’s not much talk you have to do,” Rantanen said. “There’s a lot of good players in this team and it doesn’t matter if [Alex] Kerfoot is with them and I’m with [Colin Wilson]. I’m good with either, but if the coach wants us together, we have to lead the way. When we play together, we’re trying to take over.”

The win sends the series to Colorado for Tuesday’s Game 3 (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN) evened up at one. SAP Center has been a house of horrors for the Avs, who were 2-15-6 in their previous 23 games in San Jose. So they’re glad to be returning to Pepsi Center where they have taken 11 of their last 13 games, which includes eight straight wins and have outscored opponents 32-15 (shootout goals included) over that span.

The confidence that was earned after their Game 2 win against the Calgary Flames in Round 1 could be found Sunday night after Colorado tied the series. After going down 1-0 in the first period, the Avalanche roared back big time with three unanswered goals before a hairy few minutes ended with the one-goal final score.

Game 2 showed the Sharks that the Avalanche won’t be an easy opponent and that the battle to get that elusive fourth win won’t be easy. After showing Calgary they’re not a pushover in Round 1, Colorado is in the right mindset as they head home with a chance to take an advantage in the series.

“For us it’s about making the push and not saving anything,” said MacKinnon. “I mean, we have nothing to save our energy for. You’re playing, it’s almost May and you’re in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the second round. … For us, we love this position that we’re in. We love being the underdogs. We believe in what we can do as a group. We’ve talked about that, but we’re not done yet.”

 [NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Game 3: Boston Bruins at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET (Series tied 1-1) The Bruins want and need more from their power play. Despite a 1-for-4 display in Game 2, Bruce Cassidy sees plenty of room for improvement on the execution front. “Just looking at different parts of the game where you could make a difference, and that was one, especially in a tight-checking game when neither generated a lot of offense 5-on-5. So that’s when you got to make hay [with the man advantage]. They did on theirs, we didn’t on ours. Yeah, we got a goal that helped us. And the number looks good, so you’re 25 percent. But in the big picture, No. 1 unit [did not] generate much either game on it. So we want to make sure we put it back.” (NBCSN; Live stream)

MONDAY’S SCOREBOARD
Blues 4, Stars 3

PHT’s Round 2 previews
Round 2 schedule, TV info
Questions for the final eight teams
PHT Roundtable
Blue Jackets vs. Bruins
Hurricanes vs. Islanders
Blues vs. Stars
Avalanche vs. Sharks

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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