From the first five minutes, you could tell this wouldn't go well. The Predators were all over the Avalanche, and the Avs had trouble even moving the puck out of the zone. It looked like we were in for a long night. About half-way through the period, though, things started to even out.
Kevin Porter started off the scoring after a great defensive play center ice. He and Paul Stastny had a nice give and go, and Porter slid one past Pekka Rinne. However, eleven seconds later, the Preds evened it up on a gorgeous wrister from the blue line by Shea Weber. The period ended tied at one.
Sacco switched the lines up for the second period, putting Stastny with Milan Hejduk and Peter Forsberg. Do you think he'll ever keep the lines set for a whole game? Jones took a penalty five minutes into the second, and Nashville cashed in. Dirty goal banging around the net; Boods had it but wasn't able to completely freeze it under him and Martin Erat found the loose puck to tap in. Good call by the officials to not blow the play dead no matter how much it sucked that they didn't.
Halfway through the second, Daniel Winnik got the puck into the corner off a face off which David Jones picked up, took through the crease and sneaked by Rinne. Classic Jonesy move to tie it up at two. With seven left to go, Forsberg took the first of two penalties he'd have on the night. This time, the Avs were able to kill it. Shortly after that, Stastny got whacked in the face, and the Avs went on the power play. Strangely, Sacco chose to go with four forwards and one defenseman; perhaps having newbie Cameron Gaunce in the lineup had something to do with it, but it wasn't working if you ask me. Of course, the fact that the Predators not only killed it easily but also had some solid scoring chances of their own might have something to do with that. The period ended with another call on Forsberg, one that would carry over to the first minute and fifteen of the third.
The boys did a solid job on the second PK to get back to even strength. At about the 17 minute mark, Porter again forced a turnover at center ice. He passed the puck up to Brandon Yip who dropped it over to Duchene. The boy's dry streak finally ended with a perfect slap shot from the circle that flew right over Rinne's shoulder to the back of the net. The warm fuzzies didn't last long as just over a minute later, Patrick Hornquist sent one home to tie it up. Budaj was none too happy, nor should he have been. Three Avs players watched the puck and didn't catch Hornquist sitting all alone in the slot. With a nice screen from Matt Hunwick, it was a done deal.
Six minutes into the period, the Avs went on another power play as Hejduk was mauled on the side of the net. Not like it mattered because they suck with the man up. The game stayed tied at three with some quality chances from both teams. Then, with three left to go, Haynes and McNabb started talking about how bad Nashville is in overtime and good at the shoot out and contemplating what strategy they would use. It was a given it would be over at that point. Sure enough, Cody Franson beat Budaj from the blue line. Boods should have had it, and he knew it. The look on his face was heartbreaking, considering he was the best player on the ice for the Avalanche all night. The Preds sealed the deal with an empty netter to beat the Avs 5-3.
- Forsberg, Duchene, Hejduk
- Jones, Stastny, Yip
- Winnik, O'Reilly, Porter
- McLeod, Dupuis, Koci
- Wilson, Shattenkirk
- Liles, O'Byrne
- Hunwick, Gaunce
- John-Michael Liles did not play a single shift in the first period, despite being on the bench. No word on whether it was doghouse action or something else.
- Cameron Gaunce made his NHL debut tonight. He looked solid, without any major gaffes, and even brought the Cameron Awesome out a few times.
- David Jones leads the team in road goals at 9 and is second behind Duchene for total goals scored.
- The Avs were outshot 38-18
Forsberg makes his home debut on Monday against Calgary. Let's have a Happy Valentines Day, 'kay guys?