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Colorado Avalanche come close, but not close enough to beat Nashville Predators, lose 5-4

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MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Barrie each had two points in the loss

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) allows a goal to Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche give the Nashville Predators a run for their money but ultimately fall 5-4 in regulation, falling down 0-2 in this seven-game series. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog, Tyson Barrie and company jumped out to an early lead and and never went away, even when the Predators were throwing their very best at them.

To make matters worse, Sam Girard missed optional skate on Friday because of maintainence but as warm-ups started, it became clear that the teenage puck-mover won’t be dressing for game two. Officially out with an upper-body injury. We are unsure whether he’ll play in game three or not but he is out “day-to-day”.

The defense pairs for this game are as follows:

Nikita Zadorov – Tyson Barrie

Patrick Nemeth – Duncan Siemens

Mark BarberioDavid Warsofsky

First Period

1-0

On the their first shot of the game, Colin Wilson J.T. Compher create a turnover on the forecheck along the half-wall and Compher is able to feed a wide open Gabriel Bourque for a snipe to the top corner. Production from the fourth line is so key in the playoffs and the Avs have already found some in this second game.

Late replacement Siemens applies more pressure on the Predators early in this game when his point shot gets deflected in front and Blake Comeau nearly bangs home the rebound. Pekka Rinne remains sharp despite giving up a goal on his first shot against.

Tyson Barrie took a rebound from a Bernier stick save square to the face mid-way through the first. He was forced to go to the dressing room for repairs. The Avs are forced to play with five defensemen, none of whom are Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, or Sam Girard. Yikes.

The Avs impressed me in their work ethic so far in this game. Their forecheck is hard and relentless, I like that they’re playing a high line with the wingers. At the other end, the defense has played the Nashville forwards hard all along the boards and it’s helped them take the puck away and kill the forecheck. They’ve also impressed me with their ability to give Bernier a clear lane to see the net. Every shot so far has been a harmless blast from the point that Bernie’s been square to. that’s as close to perfect defending if you ask me.

With 4:30 left in the first, Barrie returns to the ice and the air pressure in Denver returns to normal.

With a minute left to go in the first, Kyle Turris jukes Gabriel Landeskog and forces the Captain to trip him up. Comeau and Siemens work well together to block both a shot and pass leading to the first minute of the late penalty to be killed off.

After One

The Avalanche had a great period from start to finish. They did get out-attempted (15-23) and chanced (6-9) but not without a serious counter-punch in the Preds zone. The Av’s quick counterattacks have allowed them to out-shoot the Preds 11-9, and out-score them 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.

Second Period

1-1

Kevin Fiala ties the game right near the end of the Landeskog penalty after his shot delfected off the toe of Nemeth’s skate. Really unlucky goal and a shame it happened on Bernier’s watch, he’s been really good. Colton Sissons and Turris draw the assists.

Mattias Ekholm hits Nathan MacKinnon near the Predators bench long after the puck left the area. He gets called for interference.

Unfortunately, 16-seconds into the power play, Warsofsky takes a holding penalty on Nick Bonino while trying to retrieve the puck from behind the net and ends the man-advantage for the Avs.

During the abbreviated power play for the Predators, the Avs get caught running around a few times and Nashville almost capitalizes with a goal. Bernier continues to stand tall, looking calm and collected the entire time.

A few minutes later, as the Avs were starting to get their feet back under them, the bench gets called for too many men on the ice. In my opinion, this is one of the most fustrating penalties you can take, especially in the playoffs! PLAYOFFS!

MacKinnon gets a shot on goal for the Avalanche. *Exhales*

Nashville and Colorado get into a scrum after a whistle. Rantanen and Ryan Ellis both go to the box for roughing.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) and right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) have to be separated after a scrum during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

1-2

Viktor Arvidsson goes for a skate on the 4-on-4, speeds towards the left faceoff circle, and wires a slapper past Bernier. Barrie and Barberio could’ve pushed higher up but the speed of Arvidsson forced them back. *extreme sigh*

With about four minutes left in the period, Barberio gets called for hooking Auston Watson while he was reaching for the puck on a potential breakaway. Watson falls well after the contact and gets called for the embellishment. How embarassing.

1-3

Ryan Johansen scores after picking up a deflected puck in the neutral zone and beating Bernier on the breakaway with Alex Kerfoot all over him. The assists go to Ekholm and P.K. Subban.

2-3

Nathan MacKinnon picks up the puck from Zadorov in his own zone and shows off why he deserves the Hart (yes, I’m still going to beat that horse). With a defender on his back, MacKinnon muscles his way to the slot and roofs a back-hander over the shoulder of Rinne, bringing the Avalanche back to within one with a the same two minutes of 4-on-4. That, kids, is what you call an athlete.

Right at the end of the period, Matt Nieto, Rinne, and Subban get into a shoving match right in front of the net. Rinne throws a shot with his blocker and Nieto shoves Subban in retaliation. Somehow, Nieto is the only player to go to the box. The Predators will have a power play for 1:55 to start the third.

This is the second time this game that they get an abbreviated power play to start a period. the slow start on the PK definitely appeared to get the Avs going on the wrong foot to start the second period, hopefully they learn from their mistakes and start the third a lot better.

After Two

The Avs kinda got owned for stretched in that period, but they were able to fight back — when MacKinnon was on the ice — and keep themselves in the game. Shots in the second were 8-10 for the Predators, meaning the two teams are tied at 19 after 40 minutes.

Since there were an incredible 18 minutes in penalties for that period, there were only four shot attempts at 5-on-5 between the two teams during that frame. The shot attempts over the whole game in all situations (33-42) does provide a bit better picture of what’s going on. The Avs have been getting out-played but have been punching back enough to keep themselves in the game. Bernier’s been unbelieveable all things considered.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) is hit by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth (12) after a shot on Colorado Avalanche goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Third Period

After the Avalanche valiantly kill off the Nieto penalty, Subban gets called for tripping barely two minutes later. Barrie and MacKinnon each get a good chance in the offensive zone but fail to score.

As the penalty expires, Nashville ices the puck with a tired group and three defensemen on the ice. The start of the third has been much better than the start of the second. Barrie gets another big shot from the point and the deflection off the glass nearly bounces in. This start is a good sign for a team that has done well in the final periods of games.

2-4

Bonino picks up a giveaway at the Avalanche blueline, drops to Fiala, who relays the puck to Watson who beats Bernier high. Not going to sugar-coat this, that was crap defending by Zadorov. No idea why he came across and left his post.

3-4

With Turris in the box after Nieto drew a holding penalty on him, Sissons gets called for tripping Barrie. On the power play MacKinnon grabs a pass from Barrie and Landeskog deflects the MacKinnon shot right in front of Rinne to bring the Avs back to within one!

Sven Andrighetto gets called for elbowing. Doctors find that Ellis has a rubber neck.

After the penalty gets killed and the Avs turn it on. For the final four minutes, the Avalanche hem the Predators in their own zone and nearly tie the game...

3-5

Ryan Hartman beats out an icing call after Subban tried to go for the empty net. Ekholm gets the second assist on the empty-net goal.

4-5

With 35.8 seconds left in the game, Alex Kerfoot brings the boys back to within one when his shot from the faceoff circle beats Rinne. Rantanen and Barrie draw the assists.

After the Whistle

“We were playing well in the first but three power play attempts for them in the second didn’t help us. We handed them a couple goals.”


See you on Monday night when these two teams faceoff for game three in Denver at 8pm MDT!