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assists, their fourth-h

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Injuries left the Avalanche playing their backup to the backup goaltender while needing a victory to stave off elimination.

The goalie nicknamed the ”Hamburglar” came through.

Andrew Hammond made a career-high 44 saves for his first postseason victory Adam Butler Jersey , and Colorado rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday night and sent the first-round series back to Denver for Game 6.

”Obviously, it was a lot of fun,” said Hammond, who was mobbed in the locker room. ”We’re excited to have another game. We didn’t want this to be the last one of the season, and I think to a man, we all did whatever we could to make sure that wasn’t the case.”

This is the third time the Avalanche had trailed 3-1 in a series since moving to Colorado. They lost the first two but have a chance Sunday to push the defending Western Conference champs to a seventh game after rallying with two goals in the final 4:11.

They also became the first to win a playoff game in regulation when trailing in the final 5:00 of the third since Chicago won at Boston in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

Gabriel Landeskog started the rally with his goal into an empty net with Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne caught outside the crease with his own teammate Ryan Ellis in his lap. Then Sven Andrighetto gave the Avs the lead off a rebound of a shot by J.T. Compher with 1:28 left that stunned a sold-out Nashville crowd that had expected to celebrate advancing to the second round.

”We’ve got a series again going home, and it’s going to be exciting,” Landeskog said. ”As we talked about before tonight, just to win one. We don’t have to win three in one night.”

This was not only Hammond’s first playoff victory, it was his first postseason start since April 17, 2015, with Ottawa and just the third of his career. He started only one game during the regular season after being traded to Colorado in November.

”You never know when you’re going to get a second chance,” Hammond said. ”I’ve played two games basically since the start of January – at times it felt as though that day would never come again when you’re going to play again. You keep battling in practice Malcom Brown Jersey , you stick to the process, when you get your chance, you’re ready.”

Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he loved Hammond’s demeanor since learning he would be starting.

”He’s waited a long time this year for this opportunity, and he’s making the most of it,” Bednar said.

The series winner will face Winnipeg in the second round.

Nick Bonino scored for Nashville.

This game was scoreless until Bonino’s goal with 9:42 left, a big change for a series that had been the highest-scoring of the first round averaging 7.25 goals per game coming into Game 5.

The Predators peppered Hammond, and the only time Nashville beat him was when Mattias Ekholm’s shot bounced off his left pad and went in off Bonino’s right skate. The official on the spot immediately waved it off. Officials huddled, then reviewed the play.

During the review, fans sang ”Let It Be” while holding up their cellphones with the flash on. Referee Kevin Pollock announced the call on the ice had been overturned , starting a long-awaited celebration.

The lead didn’t last long as the Avs rallied.

”It’s not like we didn’t have opportunities,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”They did a pretty good job in front of him. We had lots of looks, lots of opportunities. We couldn’t get in.”

The Avalanche came into the postseason with goalie Semyon Varlamov and defenseman Erik Johnson sidelined by knee injuries, then defenseman Samuel Girard missed three games with his own upper-body injury before Jonathan Bernier Kyle Lauletta Jersey , Varlamov’s backup, suffered his own lower-body injury. That pushed the Hamburglar into the net.

The Predators started and ended the second period on the power play but couldn’t beat Hammond. Their best scoring chance came with a 4-on-2, but Hammond stopped Roman Josi’s shot and then handled Calle Jarnkrok’s attempt off the rebound at 12:36. Hammond also made a big pad save on Ellis’ slap shot and then stopped another Josi shot late in the period.

NOTES: The Avalanche snapped a seven-game skid in Nashville with the win. They ended a 12-game skid to the Preds overall in Game 3. … Nashville had been perfect last postseason with a chance to clinch a series on its own ice, winning all three series to reach the Stanley Cup Final. … Predators forward Ryan Hartman sat out his suspension for a hit on Carl Soderberg in Game 4.

UP NEXT

Game 6 in Denver on Sunday night.




NEW ORLEANS — They have a pulse, and now the New Orleans Pelicans feel they have a chance.

After routing the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors 119-100 on Friday night at the Smoothie King Center to cut their Western Conference semifinal series deficit to 2-1, the Pelicans enter Game 4 on Sunday looking to get even and make it a best-of-three series.

Everything worked to perfection for the Pelicans on Friday night.

They played suffocating defense and hounded Warriors guard Stephen Curry, perhaps a bit tired in his second game back from a five-week rehab of his strained left knee, into a quiet 19-point shooting night; guard Rajon Rondo dished out a franchise-playoff-record 21 assists and pushed the pace as the Pelicans built a 25-point lead; and forward Anthony Davis scored 33 points by using an array of inside and outside moves to keep the Warriors on their heels.

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said Davis was so confident the Pelicans would prevail that he guaranteed the victory during a second-half timeout. Fresh in Davis’ mind had to be Game 3 in the 2015 playoffs against the Warriors when teh Pelicans blew a 20-point, fourth-quarter lead and lost in overtime.

The Pelicans, then a vastly different team, were swept in four games by Golden State. Davis said that was not happening again.

“I think about that all the time,” Davis said. “We were up 20 going into the fourth and then they come back and won it in overtime. It was tough for us. That was the message — we can’t lose this game. It’s always tough to come back from 0-3. Our mindset is to go out there, play and do what we’re supposed to do from all the game planning. Whatever results happen Morten Andersen Jersey , happen.”

Game 4 should prove to be more than a battle of game plans. Rondo and Warriors forward Draymond Green have come face-to-face several times and verbally confronted each other, but neither has crossed the line and picked up a technical foul.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that might be considered a minor miracle for Green, known for his quick trigger.

“It’s one of the great stats of this year’s playoffs,” Kerr said, referring to Green’s technical-free play.

During Game 3, a camera caught Rondo appearing to extend a foot and trip Green 50 feet away from the action on the other side of the court. It seemed like a case of Rondo, a veteran point guard, trying to goad Green into retaliating.

“I’m not an idiot,” Green said. “I see what they’re trying to accomplish a mile away.”

“It’s kind of just how I am,” Rondo said, referring to his street-wise competitiveness. “I don’t know if that’s really trying to set an example. It’s just guys talking trash on the other team — it’s kind of just natural for me to respond. Not in a crazy way or anything, just let them know we’re not a pushover. We’re here to fight, and with my guys on the court Tramon Williams Jersey , I’m going to fight as hard (as) I can for these guys — whatever it takes.”

Rondo’s aggressiveness seems to have lit a fire under the Pelicans. While Davis and guard Jrue Holiday have been the go-to performers for New Orleans, guard E’Twaun Moore, forward Nikola Mirotic and reserves Ian Clark and Solomon Hill came up big in Game 3.

The Pelicans had 36 assists, their fourth-highest total in any game this season. Rondo was the third player in NBA history — John Stockton and Magic Johnson are the others — with multiple 20-assist games.

“We need that energy,” Mirotic said of Rondo. “He was everywhere. He was on defense, offense, talking, communicating with us. He’s just huge when the playoffs start. He’s been terrific.”

The Warriors realize the Pelicans are not the 2015 team they steamrolled.

“Obviously, (Game 3) was no fun,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “They did whatever they wanted. … We have to come back on Sunday and make them more uncomfortable, because they were way too comfortable.”

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