Predators come back to take Game One from Avalanche.
The Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche first-round series got underway in the Music City on Thursday night and Game One featured a bit of everything. Back-and-forth, fast action on top of plenty of goals and a come from behind win.
The team that did the coming from behind was Nashville as the Predators earned a 5-2 win.
“I don’t think any team is going to walk through the playoffs and say, “You know what? We played every minute just the way we wanted to,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “The objective is to play more good minutes than the opposition and try to get out of a round and try to do it again in the next round. Tonight was Game 1. We know we can do better at some things and we’ll work on that.”
Filip Forsberg had an impressive night for Nashville as the Swedish winger netted two goals including the game winner in the third period. Craig Smith, Austin Watson and Colton Sissons also got in on the scoring for the Predators.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 13, 2018
How It All Went Down
Heading into this one it was universally known that the opening five to 10 minutes would be huge for both sides. A quick goal from the Predators could get the momentum even further on their side in front of a wild home crowd. A strong opening few minutes for the Avalanche could go a long way as well allowing things to settle down.
The latter happened as the Avalanche scored the lone goal of the period 6:36 into Game One.
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov joined in on the rush alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen as he fired a puck past Pekka Rinne to light the lamp. The goal came on the Avalanche’s first shot of the night.
The goal lit a fire underneath the Avalanche as the team’s forecheck and overall pressure ramped up for the remainder of the period.
Nashville didn’t help itself out in the first frame by taking two minor penalties late in the period. The Avalanche held an 11-10 advantage shots on goal after 20 minutes of action.
The second period got off to a dramatic start. Three minutes into the frame Matt Irwin took a puck off of the goal line preventing the Avalanche from taking a 2-0 lead. Seconds later, Watson received a pass from Sissons just past the right faceoff dot before sniping a wrister past Jonathan Bernier to tie things up at 1-1 3:16 into the period.
The score remained 1-1 for all of 1:35 however as the Avalanche retook the lead.
Blake Comeau was parked in the high`slot and blasted the puck past Rinne after receiving a strong pass from Carl Soderberg down low swinging the momentum back Colorado’s way.
The Predators were gifted their first power play chance of the night with 11:20 left in the middle period as MacKinnon was whistled for slashing. Nashville took just 10 seconds to make its chance count as Ryan Johansen sent a cross-ice feed to Smith who found the top-right corner to make it a 2-2 hockey game.
— p-Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 13, 2018
The second frame would end with the score knotted at 2-2. Nashville out shot Colorado 11-6 in the period, but the Avalanche were more successful in creating scoring chances during 5-on-5 action with seven compared to only three for the Predators.
The Avalanche came out as the more aggressive side to start the third period, but after a highlight reel save by Rinne on MacKinnon, Nashville grabbed its first lead of the night.
Just over six minutes into the frame, Josi sent a low shot towards the net from the blue line, and Forsberg was there to redirect the puck past Bernier. The goal was Forsberg’s 31st point in his last 31 games played.
It turned out that Forsberg was far from finished for the period as the Swede lit the lamp with 7:50 left in regulation to double up Nashville’s lead. Forsberg put on a between the legs move on Samuel Girard and flipped a wrist shot home completing one of the more impressive goals you’ll likely see this postseason.
Unreal moves by Forsberg. We are not worthy. pic.twitter.com/7T1n3I8o6M
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 13, 2018
“That was unbelievable,” Austin Watson said about Forsberg’s goal. “I don’t know if you guys panned over to the bench, but all of our jaws dropped. He thinks of doing things out there that wouldn’t even happen in my dreams.”
The air was completely let out of the Colorado tires following Forsberg’s second goal. Sissons then finished the contest scoring an empty netter with 1:57 left in regulation.
Rinne picked up his 37th career playoff win making him the winningest Finnish born netminder in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced on the night.
At the end of the night, the Predators out shot the Avalanche 31-27.
Game Two between these two clubs is set for Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. CST.