DENVER — The Avalanche didn't just make an entrance into the NHL playoffs.
Colorado kicked the door wide open with an emphatic statement -- the Avs are here to make a run.
Colorado was simply dominant in Game 1 of its opening-round series, romping past the Nashville Predators with a 7-2 win to set the tone of the series.
The Avalanche wasted no time getting to work against Nashville goaltender David Rittch, who was filling in for starter Juuse Saros missing the first two games due to a leg injury.
Colorado bullied Rittch with five goals in the first period alone before he was replaced with backup Connor Ingram.
"I think that's key," captain Gabriel Landeskog said about his team's fast start. "We talked about it beforehand, coming out to a fast start and playing our game. That was us getting rewarded."
The star of the night was Nathan MacKinnon, who exploded with two goals and an assist for Colorado. Defenseman Cale Makar added a goal and two assists, and Mikko Rantanen was credited with three assists.
"Obviously, we set the tone tonight," Makar said after the game. "But it's just going to be amping that up even more going forward."
Defensively, Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper put together an impressive performance with 23 saves on 25 shots faced.
Both of Nashville's goals were scored by former Avalanche player Matt Duchene.
"(Kuemper) is a big guy. Our goaltenders in the past haven't necessarily been the biggest guys," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "Hopefully that helps him in traffic. Time will tell."
Colorado takes a 1-0 series lead on Nashville as both teams will regroup for Game 2 at Ball Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Sports