DENVER - The ice opened up, the net yawned wide and the Colorado Avalanche unleashed.

Building off a rally and overtime win in Game 2, the Avalanche blew out the Calgary Flames in the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center, 6-2, and took a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference playoff series.

Cale Makar didn’t make the jump to the NHL so much as teleport in. It took all of 16:02 into his pro career for the 20-year-old, who was playing in the NCAA title game with the University of Massachusetts two nights previously, to become the first defenseman in NHL history to score in a debut that came in the postseason.

“I didn’t know that stat, but it’s a special moment,” Makar said.

With the Avalanche up 2-0, Nathan MacKinnon dropped it off. Makar stickhandled in heavy coverage and beat Mike Smith low.

MacKinnon, who had two goals of his own Monday, said Makar yelled at him for the puck on the way up the ice.

“Which is pretty impressive for a kid who played in the national championship on Saturday to be yelling and being assertive,” MacKinnon said. “I know when I first came, I was shy and didn’t want to yell for the puck.”

The Avalanche peppered Smith, the first star of Games 1 and 2, with 56 shots, second-most in a postseason game in franchise history.

MacKinnon opened the scoring on the back end of a full two-minute 5-on-3. He pinched in and beat Smith through a Gabriel Landeskog screen.

A minor penalty turned into a 5-on-3 for a few seconds as a Flames player headed to the bench to replace a stick, even as the Avalanche maintained possession. The Avs used that window to set up an intricate passing play. Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen threw it around, then MacKinnon took a knee and finished it at the back door.

“Physically and emotionally involved right away,” coach Jared Bednar said of the Avs’ start.

Matt Nieto scored shorthanded for the second straight game, pouncing on the leftovers of an Ian Cole breakaway in the second period. Three games in, he has twice as many shorthanded goals as he did during the regular season. The Flames responded on the same power play to make it 4-1.

Colin Wilson fed Rantanen to make it 5-1. It was the first career postseason goal for Rantanen, who returned from injury for Game 1.

An Erik Johnson goal and a Calgary response within 15 seconds early in the third period closed the scoring.

The Avalanche went 2-for-8 on the power play and killed off 5 of 6 penalties. Colorado leads a playoff series for the first time since 2014.

This performance from the Avalanche - and Makar - was one for the record books.

“Right from the get-go, he was involved,” Bednar said, pointing to Makar’s defensive work as well, particularly a 2-on-1 he broke up.

“He looked calm, cool and collected.”

Game 4 is Wednesday night in Denver.

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