Predators grab 2-0 series lead over the Avalanche.
Story written by Mark Harris
The Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche took part in a high-scoring Game Two of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series on Saturday afternoon. And for the second straight contest, the Predators had to come from behind to earn the victory.
Nashville scored five goals just as it did in Game One on the way to earning a 5-4 win.
Five different Predators lit the lamp for the Predators while Pekka Rinne picked up the win in goal stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced.
How It All Went Down
Game Two got off to an identical start as Game One. The Avalanche grabbed the first goal of the contest and carried a 1-0 edge into the first intermission.
Just as it did in Game One, Colorado lit the lamp on its first shot of the game. Former Predator Gabriel Bourque found the back of the net with a wrist shot from the high-slot 2:34 into the contest.
Following the Bourque tally, both teams but the Preds more so than the Avalanche, fell into a bit of an inconsistent stretch in terms of back-and-forth action and creating chances.
The Predators managed 24 five-on-five shot attempts in the opening period, but only nine found their way on goal. The Avalanche were more effective in that area with 11 of their 15 shot attempts finding the target.
Nashville started the second period with 1:04 of power play time left after a late first period minor penalty and the Preds tied things up just prior to the penalty expiring. Kevin Fiala slid a shot towards the net that looked like it was going wide, but the puck was redirected in off of Patrik Nemeth’s skate.
Fiala’s goal would be the first of four total goals in the middle frame while the three following would all come during 4-on-4 action.
After incidental minor penalties 10:46 into the period, Viktor Arvidsson found the puck in the Nashville defensive zone and decided to carry it all the way down the far wall before sending a slapshot past Jonathan Bernier giving the Preds their first lead of the game.
Inject this Arvidsson goal right into my veins pic.twitter.com/tS7CdQ7W8a
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 14, 2018
With just over four minutes left in the period, both sides were whistled for offsetting minor penalties yet again and this time Ryan Johansen got in on the scoring action.
P.K. Subban came up with an impressive diving block in front of Pekka Rinne before Mattias Ekholm found Johansen with an off the wall pass. Johansen then pushed a backhand past Bernier.
The Preds 3-1 lead lasted all of 36 seconds as Colorado netted a 4-on-4 goal of its own. Much like the Arvidsson goal, Nathan MacKinnon carried the puck from deep in the neutral zone and while fighting off pressure from Predators he lifted a backhanded shot over the shoulder of Pekka Rinne.
Nashville out shot Colorado 10-8 during the second period on top of creating four scoring chances during all situations compared to only one from the Avalanche.
The Predators made it a 4-2 game 7:16 into the final period. After a bit of confusion at the bench for the Avalanche, Nick Bonino picked up the loose puck and found Fiala who then slid an impressive pass to a crashing Austin Watson who was able to net his second goal of the postseason.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 14, 2018
As they did in the middle frame, the Avalanche answered right back however and cut the lead to 4-3 during a 5-on-3 power play situation. MacKinnon held the puck in the slot before flipping a wrister on net that deflected in off of Gabriel Landeskog.
With both sides battling for the next handful of minutes not giving up any free space on the ice, Colorado elected to pull Bernier for the extra attacker and Ryan Hartman tapped home what was his first career playoff goal to make it 5-3 with 1:09 left in regulation.
As they did all night, the Avalanche didn’t go away quietly as Alexander Kerfoot scored with 36 seconds left to make it 5-4, but the Predators pinned the puck along the boards following the tally as time expired on Game Two.
When it was all said and done, the Predators out shot the Avalanche 33-30. Nashville also created more total scoring chances on the night with a 32-25 edge in that department.
Game Three between these two sides will come Monday at 9:00 p.m. CST from Denver.