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Game 80 Recap: Magician Thwarts Predators

A strong games from some of the most talented players leads to a win against a top NHL squad.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

So the Thompson family missed the first period and the first 15 minutes of the second due to a variety of reasons. Some dude who needs to buy a vowel (Calle Jarnkrok) had apparently put the Preds up 1-0 early in the first.

The Avs appeared to be willing to sleepwalk through another embarrassing effort with a measly 5 shots to Nashville's 14. Semyon Varlamov was the only guy earning his paycheck through one.The second was apparently a better facsimile of an actual hockey game for Colorado.

Anyway, we turn it on and Jarome Iginla scores off a beauty of a feed from Barrie for his 27th of the season. That gives Tyson Barrie his 52nd point of the season.

They hadn’t even finished announcing the goal before Ryan O`Reilly gets some time and space in the slot (mainly because Tanguay is hugging it out with a defenseman about 5 feet in front of him) and fires it top shelf for the second Avalanche goal just 9 seconds later.

Within a minute or so of that, Hishon draws a penalty with a one-on-one battle fighting off the forecheck. He’s rewarded with some PP time with Matt Duchene and Co. and has a decent cycle game going with Matt before feeding Zach Redmond who had snuck down to damn near the crease for his version of Iggy’s one-timer. No dice on the PP though. Nashville begins to push back a little at the end of the period and force some defensive zone faceoffs with shots on Varlamov. Off of one of them, Hejda gets tagged for interference when it looks like he goes knee-on-knee with Ryan Ellis along the boards.  Ellis hobbled off under his own power, but had to be helped down the corridor. Predators will start the third on the power play. Shots are 28-16 after two but the Avs lead where it counts.

During the intermission, Rycroft thinks Duchene is passing up good scoring opportunities to feed the biscuit to Iginla for his quest for his 13th 30-goal season. Based on the biased B-reel he used to support his argument, I believe him. Rycroft should be a lawyer or something. His double breast pocket square is not a good look IMO but what do I know, I bought my first sports coat last week. The Altiboobs can’t stop giggling over the Preds defenseman that took out the ref that lead to the Iginla goal. The puppy/ATM/sads commercial is terrible by the way. Also the Mrs’ favorite Blue Bell flavor is being recalled. All this and tornadoes predicted for tomorrow.

With the Blues having already lost tonight, the game takes on additional weight for Nashville as they start the 3rd period hoping to lock up home ice in the first round of the Colorado-less playoffs. Some give-and-go at the point gets the all-good-now Ellis some space for a one-timer that blows past Varlamov to tie it up at 2.

The Predators score again on a Roman Josi shot from the far point, but as Varlamov was t-pushing from his left to his right, it appeared he stepped on his pad strap just as Paul Gaustad was near him so they waive it off. So we get the Coach’s Challenge discussion for a few minutes.

I don’t think the Altiboobs are pronouncing Rinne’s name right.

Duchene is flying tonight.  He's generating chances like a madman Don Draper. (Final season starts Sunday!!)

Some back and forth rushes get traded before Nate Guenin throws the puck offside. Soon thereafter, Duchene undresses a forechecker to start a break, drawing cheers from the home crowd. The Denver denizens were treated to a near goal by the other ageless wonder on the team when Alex Tanguay loses himself behind the defense and gets a great chance in front but Pekka Rinne makes an unbelievable slide to save it. Fantastic. Joey Hishon continues his strong play, doing work to get a sneaky shot on net from a bad angle.  His line gets a legit good scoring chance out of it, but Cody McLeod can’t bury it before Rinne smothers it. A few minutes later, he decides to just do it himself and FUCKING SNIPES HIS FIRST NHL GOAL OVER  THE PAD AND UNDER THE BLOCKER OF ONE OF THE BEST IN THE GAME. 3-2 Avs with a little over 12 minutes left in the game. He got a water bottle’s worth of H2O to the face and congrats from Varly during the break.

After the commercial break, O’Reilly stumbles at the point and springs an odd-man break, but a decent backcheck by MHH goat Guenin forces an across-the-grain pass that snuffs out the play. Everybody seems content to trade chances on the rush and Colorado is maybe at tad over-cautious on the breakout a few time and Nashville forechecks them into some turnovers. With about 6 minutes left in the game, the Altiboobs discuss how much they like Mike Fisher’s body. Who wouldn’t, really?

Shea Weber unloads on Varly (phrasing) and the Avs put on a turnover clinic for an extended time, but Varlamov fights off some good looks and shots. I swear, nobody on this team wants to be ‘the guy’ who clears a puck. The turtle looks to be in full effect but then I see the Hishon line run a THREE-MAN FORECHECK? That’s…probably not a good idea.

My favorite part of the game? Watching the Colorado players have opportunities to clear the puck, but then a PLAYER ON THEIR OWN TEAM manages to steal the puck from them and turn it over to give the hungry Nashville players more opportunities. I wonder of Roy is screaming "SAME TEAM!!!!" at them like I have to yell at the 8U team my son plays on? Is that like a universal hockey thing or just a commonality between the Avs and the 8U Sharks?

Bunch of pucks out o’ play slow the flow to a grind over the last three minutes. Preds manage to pull Rinne with just under two minutes to go. Some patient passing before Filip Forsberg gets a good chance, but Varly fights it off. No clear though. A few seconds later the puck gets knocked out of play. Whew. Nashville calls their timeout. O'Reilly wins the faceoff but it takes another herculean effort to clear. He wins the next one too, but the Preds eventually gain possession and get a good shot that Varly has to shrug off. Next faceoff is O'Reilly again, but a strong Predators win all the way out of the zone relieves a little pressure.  However, when they get back in, Guenin gets tagged with a somewhat phantom tripping call with 6 seconds left. Varly makes a save off the shot  (off the faceoff loss) and there isn’t enough time to gather the rebound!!  The Avs win the game on Joey Hishon’s stick and Varlamov’s 40-save effort.

3 Stars via Chambers

3. Iggy

2. ROR

1. Hishon

MHH 3 Stars

Varlamov - 40 Saves and the only reason the Avs had a chance going into the second period

Iggy and Barrie - Ageless wonder continues his quest for 30 goals while the young blueliner continues his great season.

Hishon - first NHL goal, and the game-winner to boot.  His reward was an interview with Julie.

Next up: Winnipeg comes calling on Thursday night hoping to keep their playoff hopes alive.  Can the Avs play spoilers again?