Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche leaned on their speed to get off to another flying start.
For a third straight game in the series, Colorado scored first. But the Avs were able to make it stand in this one. MacKinnon and his teammates have been a different bunch at home this year. Their 28 home wins in the regular season was tied for the most in franchise history with the 2000-01 squad that hoisted the Stanley Cup.
They gained a lot of momentum, used their atmosphere to their advantage and we weren’t able to respond in that first period, Predators forward Ryan Johansen said. That can’t happen.
MacKinnon’s goal at 4:25 of the second period gave Colorado a 4-0 lead and prompted the Predators to pull Rinne in favor of backup Juuse Saros. Rinne allowed four goals on 15 shots.
We weren’t very good in front of him, Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. I didn’t think we were giving him the support he needed.
Advice: While coach Hue Jackson says the team is still eyeing four quarterbacks, Southern California’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen are commanding the most buzz for the first pick. Allen represents too much of a gamble, and his struggles with accuracy and touch seem to make him a poor fit with new wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who thrives in the short area. Darnold has to iron out his turnovers and footwork, but he brings the playmaking ability and poise that the Browns need from this position.
2. Cleveland owns five of the top 64 picks, including the No. 4 overall selection via a previous trade with the Texans. A potential early run on quarterbacks could leave them with their pick of the best non-passer in the class at that slot.
Advice: If Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is available, the Browns should take him to lock down their backfield of the future. Carlos Hyde was signed this offseason, but Barkley is the kind of transformative figure who can take on an Ezekiel Elliott or Leonard Fournette role as an offense’s centerpiece. If Barkley isn’t the choice, a Day 2 running back should be on the agenda. Georgia’s Sony Michel or Southern California’s Ronald Jones would be dynamic additions who could ease a rookie QB’s burden, though likely not to the degree that Barkley can.