In this one, the score was a bit deceptive, as the Nashville Predators didn't dominate as a 5-2 win might suggest. The shots ended up being fairly even at 31-27, with the home team holding the advantage.
Nikita Zadorov put the first goal in on a slick pass from Mikko Rantanen. Nathan MacKinnon initially set up the play due to his incredible speed and was credited with a secondary assist at 6:36.
Nashville committed two penalties near the end of the first; one was a Mattias Ekholm holding and the other was an Austin Watson crosscheck. The Colorado Avalanche were unable to convert on those opportunities.
One period later, the Predators answered back with a tough angle snipe by Austin Watson. Not to be outdone, Colorado's Blake Comeau tipped Carl Soderberg's shot over Pekka Rinne not two minutes later.
With the game still 2-1 in the second, Nathan MacKinnon was called for slashing at 8:40. The Predators pounced on the opportunity with Craig Smith converting on an Avalanche turnover. The game was tied 2-2.
At 6:08, Filip Forsberg tipped in a Roman Josi shot to snag the lead for the Predators, now up 3-2. To add insult to injury, Mark Barberio headed to the penalty box for slashing. The penalty kill did stand tall, however, and the Avalanche denied the Predators any goals.
On a gorgeous play, Filip Forsberg netted his second goal of the night on an incredible individual effort at 12:10. This one will make the highlight clips for sure.
To give the Avalanche some hope, Kyle Turris committed a slashing penalty. Yet as was the story of the night, Colorado failed again to convert, especially at a very critical time.
After a long stretch of back and forth play, Colorado pulled Jonathan Bernier with less than three minutes remaining. The move did not pan out, as Colton Sissons scored the empty-netter to seal the first win of the series 5-2.
Despite a loss, the Colorado Avalanche put in a solid effort tonight. Perhaps this year's President's Trophy winner will have a tougher time winning this series than many predicted.
If Colorado wants to turn this around, they need to tighten up defensively and cut down on the turnovers, which cost them dearly. They were good offensively tonight though, and need to continue to get quality shots on Pekka Rinne.
Nashville did not have a perfect victory, however. At times the intensity the Avalanche played with was left unmatched, resulting in difficulty keeping the puck out of their own zone and trouble carrying it past the blueline.
In any case, Nashville will most likely still win the series, yet it looks like it will be a much harder fight than many predicted. This could be good for the Predators, as they will be much sharper for a ridiculously tough second-round matchup (whether it be Winnipeg or
Whatever happens, a competitive matchup is much better for all involved than a non-competitive matchup. Here's to an exciting first round series!
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