Due to some outstanding performances by players such as Comeau, MacKinnon, and Landeskog, the Colorado Avalanche were able to upset a strong Nashville Predators team and break the losing streak against them.
First period dominance
For the third consecutive game, the Avalanche scored the first goal on a Blake Comeau tip-in from Carl Soderberg at 1:50.
Two concurrent unsportsmanlike conduct penalties between Blake Comeau and Kevin Fiala resulted in a 4-on-4, but neither team was able to convert on the open ice. However at 13:24, Gabriel Bourque tipped a Patrik Nemeth shot into the net to extend the lead.
Shortly thereafter, Kyle Turris was called for slashing at 14:46. There were no goals scored by the Avalanche on the powerplay, and they only managed one shot. Yet to negate the uninspired man advantage, Gabriel Landeskog made an amazing play to get the puck to Nathan MacKinnon, who scored on a breakaway.
At 19:11, Tyson Barrie went to the penalty box for cross-checking, and after the period ended there was a bit of extracurricular activity. Nikita Zadorov and Austin Watson were both handed roughing minors.
Nathan MacKinnon scores again
The Nashville Predators entered the second period on the same power play but weren’t able to score. A few minutes later, Nathan MacKinnon put his second goal of the night in the net on a beautiful chance in the slot. At this point, Pekka Rinne was pulled in favor of Juuse Saros.
To further dampen Nashville’s spirits, Ryan Ellis headed to the sin bin for cross-checking. Colorado had some excellent chances but ultimately were unable to convert.
Unfortunately, the Avalanche shot themselves in the foot a bit with two concurrent penalties. Nikita Zadorov was found guilty of hooking, and Patrik Nemeth of cross-checking, both at 9:27. The Predators converted on one penalty, on a Ryan Johansen rebound, but not the second.
Due to the penalty-filled nature of the series, Nick Bonino headed off at 12:37 for elbowing to put the Avalanche on the man advantage. The Nashville Predators killed it off, but less than four minutes later had to head back on the penalty kill. This time it was on Filip Forsberg for goalie interference.
Nashville killed it off, but not before MacKinnon and P.K. Subban got in a little tussle, both being called for roughing.
At the beginning of the third period, Miika Salomaki went off for charging for two minutes. The Predators’ penalty kill did a nice job killing it.
Nashville tries to come back
Colton Sissons put a goal on the board to even the score a bit more, being now 4-2. After some good shutdown play by the Avalanche, the Predators pulled the goalie with about 2:30 left, but Landeskog scored the empty-netter to get the lead to 5-2.
Austin Watson scored at 18:45 to cut the lead to two, but the Avalanche challenged for goaltender interference. The goal was upheld, however.
It proved to be futile, as the Predators couldn’t find the back of the net in the remaining minute. Colorado won the game to even the series a bit to 2-1, still in Nashville’s favor.
Both teams, especially Nashville, need to clean up the penalties. Physicality is a good thing and will accrue penalties at times, but many were very avoidable.
The Avalanche, as usual, had a very good start to the hockey game but tapered off near the end. It would be nice to see them continue applying the offensive pressure rather than sitting back on the lead and trying to play defensive hockey.
To keep on that thought, Colorado has a thin blue-line as it is, especially now that both Erik Johnson and Samuel Girard are out. Nashville also does well against that kind of play, as they generate offense from the backend.
Nashville, on the other hand, needs to wake up. This was a team that they were supposed to dominate, yet the Avalanche have been very competitive. Nathan MacKinnon's line has walked all over them, and they need to figure out how to defend them and fast.
Do you think the Predators can bounce back after this loss and regain their edge over the Colorado Avalanche? Or do you think Nathan MacKinnon's team can orchestrate an upset in the series? Let us know down in the comments.