Despite a loss, the Colorado Avalanche put in a solid effort tonight. Nashville is just too deep and too strong. But considering that Colorado had to grind for weeks to simply make it here, no one should be taking them lightly. If they take the Avalanche lightly again, though, this could become an entirely different series.
At the final buzzer, Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov was issued a cross-checking minor and misconduct. If Nashville were less experienced, they may have been phased. The penalty kill did stand tall, however, and the Avalanche denied the Predators any goals. Especially teenage defenseman Sam Girard.
With so much offensive and defensive depth for the Predators, it could just be too overwhelming for Colorado.
Nashville has been here before, though.
Forsberg, who has 13 goals and 11 assists in 20 regular-season matches against Colorado, snapped a 2-2 tie at 6:08 of the third period by deflecting Roman Josi's point blast past a helpless Jonathan Bernier. Irwin swatted it out of danger and the Preds went the other way - leading to Austin Watson's goal with a high wrist shot over Bernier's shoulder. There was a single spot he could stick it to get it in, and it was right on the money to tie the game at one.
The Colorado Avalanche have had an incredible turn of events over the last two years. MacKinnon can make a great case for the Hart Trophy, considering he was 5th in the NHL in points scored and helped turn around the worst record in hockey to a playoff berth. The Predators are constantly attacking opponents in their own zone and it's never a matter of which line is on the ice. The team's been forced to stave off opponent power plays just 5.5 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.
If Colorado can stop Nashville's offense from the point it will be a big victory towards containing the Preds attack because Nashville has one of the best shots from the point with PK Subban sniping it from the point. They tried to add the tank last season but had issues getting the tank installed, so they brought in experts this time around. And that's okay. This Avs team is young, and considering they're just coming into their own, it's awesome they've gone this far.
Filip Forsberg, welcome to the playoffs. People might not take the Predators as seriously as teams like the Lightning or the Bruins in the Eastern Conference or maybe even the surprising expansion Golden Knights, but you should. This goal made it 4-2 Predators and it was done.
Colorado was 0-3-1 against Nashville this season, losing 4-1 and 5-2 in Music City and 3-2 in overtime and 4-2 in Denver. His two goals not only gave Nashville the lead but dazzled the crowd in the process.
It was a good sign for Colorado to get MacKinnon and Rantanen - the Avs' two best forwards - on the scoresheet so quickly in the series. Rinne was calm in stopping 25 shots, he was sound in his positioning, and he dominated from the outset. And that could play a huge factor in determining how this series swings. One instance was embarrassing, but he'll learn. He was fast and confident and continued to show up throughout the game.