Tonight was the game the Nashville Predators could've put an end to the series and get a few extra days of rest. The Colorado Avalanche had different plans, specifically Andrew Hammond. He was acquired in the Matt Duchene trade as a bit of a throw-in, yet he was the main reason the Colorado Avalanche won the game tonight. He stopped 44 of 45 shots tonight.
An uneventful two periods
At 4:56, Kevin Fiala was penalized for tripping. As it’s been all series, the Predators penalty kill looked fantastic and they prevented much from happening. The period was pretty even, but JT Compher took a penalty at 20:00 for holding to give the Predators a power play to start the second period.
Colorado did a fantastic job killing the penalty, going back to even strength. The period was evenly played and started to open up a bit more. With about three minutes left, Nashville held the puck in the offensive zone a long time and was rewarded with a power play. Nikita Zadorov was the guilty player, being called for slashing at 17:47.
The Avalanche killed the penalty, mostly due to Hammond’s exceptional play. The second period ended with zero goals on the scoreboard.
The goals finally come
Fiala took his second penalty, this time for holding, at 1:39. The Avalanche took a boneheaded too many men penalty at 3:19 to cause a short 4-on-4. Colorado was able to kill off the ensuing man advantage, and the game remained scoreless.
There was a bit of controversy when Nick Bonino bounced the puck in the net off his skate, and the call on the ice was no goal. It was reversed fortunately for the Predators, and they finally scored the first goal of the game.
The Avalanche struck back at 15:49, on a beautiful patient play by Nathan MacKinnon, who passed it to Gabriel Landeskog who scored the tying goal.
Less than three minutes later, Sven Andrighetto grabbed the lead on a rebound from JT Compher, putting the Avalanche up 2-1. Nashville pulled Pekka Rinne with less than two minutes left, but they couldn’t get one past Hammond.
Colorado's back in it
The team everyone counted out (including many Avalanche fans) has made this a series. They may still lose the series, but no one can deny the promise of this young team. The odds are still stacked against them to win this series, but they at least they made it fun and entertaining to watch.
As for Nashville, doubt has to be creeping in. They failed to put an end to a team they probably should've swept. They still can do it, but they'll have less rest than the Winnipeg Jets who just finished off the Minnesota Wild tonight.
Will Colorado push this series to seven games? Or can Nashville put an end to it next game at the Pepsi Center? Let us know down in the comments section below.