After showing a lot of heart and resilience in the playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche finally saw their season come to an end in game six against the Nashville Predators. The Predators finally showed the dominance that was expected of them after finishing with the best record in the NHL during the regular season. Andrew Hammond couldn’t quite find the magic that he had in game five, and the Avalanche looked flat throughout stretches of the game. Colorado couldn’t get their offense going and Nashville played disciplined hockey, not giving the Avalanche a single power play opportunity in the game.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar started the game off by matching up his top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen against Nashville’s top line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Viktor Arvidsson. A very physical first period, beginning with a Gabriel Bourque hit that left P.K. Subban shook up. Hitting continued throughout the period whenMacKinnon also felt a big hit from Arvidsson in front of the bench. With 13:14 remaining in the period, a Nashville goal by Colton Sissons was waved off after it was determined that Kyle Turris interfered with Avalanche goaltender Andrew Hammond.
The Predators weren’t kept off the score sheet much longer, however, as Mattias Ekholm beat Hammond with a slap shot just 14 seconds later. Nashville continued to control the play for most of the period and were able to find the back of the net again at 9:41. Nick Bonino made a nice pass out of the corner to Sissons who walked across the front of the net before hitting the post. Austin Watson buried the rebound for his fourth goal of the series. Colorado spent a lot of time in their defensive zone and didn’t spend any extended time in Nashville’s zone.
The first penalty of the game came with 1:53 left in the period when Landeskog was called for slashing Subban. The Predators held a 14-7 shot advantage in the first and entered the first intermission up 2-0.
Colorado began the second period with seven seconds left on the Ladeskog penalty. While they successfully killed that penalty off, Filip Forsberg scored just 38 second into the second frame. Forsberg took a shot from his off-wing on a rush that Hammond got a big chunk of, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
The Predators got another power play opportunity with 13:47 remaining when Nikita Zadorov was called for interference. Sven Andrighetto and Viktor Arvidsson were also assessed penalties during a skirmish after the hit. Immediately after the Avalanche killed off the penalty to Zadorov, Nick Bonino scored the fourth goal of the game for Nashville from the high slot on a shot that again hit Hammond before sliding into the net.
Colorado finally found the back of the net with 2:23 left in the period on a one-timer from Zadorov, though the goal was waived off for goalie interference. Coach Bednar challenged the call but it was ultimately upheld after video review.
The Avalanche would have gotten their first power play of the game when Ryan Ellis stuck his leg out and tripped Rantanen in the last minute of the second. Zadorov evened things up, however, when he went after Ellis and earned himself a roughing penalty and a 10-minute misconduct. The period would end with 4-on-4 hockey. Nashville had 11 shots. Colorado had 9.
Both teams began the third period still down a man, exchanging chances 4-on-4. Then 2:26 into the period, Viktor Arvidsson knocked down a long pass from Subban before splitting the Avalanche defense and scoring the fifth goal of the game for Nashville.
Colorado took yet another penalty halfway through the third when Mark Barberio was called for interference. Nashville couldn’t capitalize with the man advantage, going 0/3 on the power play in the game.
The rest of the third went by with a lot of back-and-forth hockey and not a lot of chances going either way. The Nashville Predators scored five goals in a game for the third time this series and Pekka Rinne recorded his first shutout of the playoffs.
After a tough end to an incredible season, the Colorado Avalanche still have plenty to be happy about. They went six games with the number one team in the NHL, despite injuries to both their starting and backup goaltenders Varlamov and Bernier, as well as defensemen Erik Johnson and Sam Girard. They showed Avs fans — and the rest of the league — that they are capable of playing playoff hockey.
Although nobody wanted to see this season come to an end, the future is bright in Colorado and you can bet that they will be back for more next year. By taking this series to six games, they were able to end their season back at the Pepsi Center and solute Avalanche fans one more time.