They keep us on the edge or our seats; we'll give ‘em that. In three of their last four games the Avs have scored after pulling the goalie in the final minutes, yet finished the game with a W only once. Tonight was much of the same. The Avs lost out on the extra point by a shoddy effort from Stuart who was caught flat-footed and let a streaking Craig Smith by him for a breakaway goal.
While the finish was exciting, the end result was much more fitting to a game that was absolutely dominated by Nashville. The Avs were outshot 39-24 and seemed to be on their heels for much of the game. But when it comes down to it, a point is a point and the boys fought hard in those final minutes to earn it.
The first period was somewhat uneventful as far as scoring chances go, with neither team capitalizing on their PP chances. Avs get on the board a little past the halfway marker of the period with a tip-in goal by Cody Mac off a blast from Redmond. Mitchell with the secondary assist.
With just three seconds left in the frame McLeod dropped the gloves with Paul Gaustad. Very impressive bout for Cody as Gaustad certainly has the size on him. Mac lands a few punches but is eventually wrestled down by again, a HUGE Paul Gaustad. First period ends, Avs lead 1-0.
A few minutes into the second the Predators get on the board with some slick moves from Craig Smith. The Nashville center had some quick evasive moves behind the net followed by some terrific passing only to finish with a bomb from Roman Josi.
Later in the period John Mitchell called for high-sticking, Preds on the power play. After strong offensive pressure a Seth Jones blast from the point is wacked in from a sharp angle by Colin Wilson, Preds lead 2-1. Tough one for Varly, he was caught a little out of position and couldn't get over in time to make the stop.
By now the Predators had a lot of momentum. A "Lets Go Preds" chant was echoing through the rink and the home team was looking to extend their lead. Yet just moments later, the Avs have a couple drop passes from Tanguay and Duchene land on Iginla's stick who rips it past Hutton for the tie game. Very solid zone entry by this line, not to mention we always love to see Iggy's trademark slapper.
Avs have another chance on the man advantage but fail to convert. End of the second, tie game at 2.
Just 30 seconds into the third, a rush up the ice by Nashville is aided by a seemingly startled Varlamov who batted the puck right back to Forsberg who then wristed it in. While not the smartest play by Varly, it was another tough angle shot.
The rest of the third period was mostly dominated by Nashville who out shot Colorado 15-7. Yet once again the boys in burgundy and blue proved their resilience and tied it up late. Relentless fore-checking paid off with Nick Holden firing it in with just 36 seconds remaining.
The 6-on-5 lately has been excellent. It's almost something as a coach you can't teach. It's about urgency and desperation, and recently, that's what the Avs have been playing with in the latter minutes of their games.
Unfortunately the boys didn't get the finish they wanted, but they'll see Nashville again Friday night in Denver.