Give the Colorado Avalanche credit score for placing up a gallant combat of their first-round Western Convention sequence with the Nashville Predators. In reality, Colorado got here inside a publish of forcing additional time in Sport Four and probably night the sequence Wednesday night time.
However Colin Wilson’s point-blank likelihood clanged off the suitable publish, enabling Nashville to depart Denver with a Three-2 victory and a Three-1 sequence lead. The Predators can get rid of the Avalanche on Friday night time with a win in Sport 5 at Bridgestone Enviornment in Nashville, Tenn.
All the percentages seem like stacked in opposition to Colorado. Nashville is 15-2 in its final 17 playoff residence video games, together with 5-2 and 5-Four wins in Video games 1 and a couple of of this sequence, respectively. The Predators are averaging 4 objectives per sport and have been higher on particular groups.
What’s extra, the Avalanche are all the way down to their third goalie for this elimination sport. Starter Semyon Varlamov is out for the sequence with a lower-body damage and backup Jonathan Bernier, who began the primary 4 video games, departed after two intervals Wednesday night time along with his personal lower-body damage.
Meaning Andrew Hammond, who made a reputation for himself three seasons in the past by going 20-1-2 for Ottawa and serving to it steal an Japanese Convention playoff berth, will get the decision for Sport 5. Hammond stopped all eight photographs he confronted within the third interval Wednesday night time.
“Any likelihood you get within the internet, you wish to benefit from it,” Hammond stated. “So I attempted doing that tonight, and simply unlucky that we weren’t in a position to get the win there on the finish.”
Colorado can blame its incapacity to transform second-period energy performs and the work of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. The Avalanche whiffed on a prolonged five-on-three early within the interval – they transformed a second one early within the third interval to jump-start its comeback – and likewise missed one other man-advantage later within the second.
The Predators scored instantly after killing each penalties, and likewise obtained a return to kind from Rinne. After being hooked from Sport Three when he ceded 4 objectives on 15 photographs, Rinne got here up with 31 stops in Sport Four, wanting extra just like the goalie favored to take residence the primary Vezina Trophy of his profession.
“I feel we did a very good job on the finish,” Rinne stated. “On the finish of the day, solely a few pucks obtained all the way in which to me. We blocked a number of and so they missed the online a few instances, so we killed the clock fairly good.”
Whereas Colorado might be with out Bernier in Sport 5, Nashville will play with out ahead Ryan Hartman. He was suspended one sport for an unlawful examine to the pinnacle of heart Carl Soderberg within the third interval of Sport Four.
With Hartman out, veteran Scott Hartnell may draw into the lineup for his first motion of the sequence. Regardless, the Predators must be motivated to shut the sequence out and relaxation for a possible second-round matchup with the Winnipeg Jets.
“It will be one other battle Friday night time,” Nashville captain Roman Josi stated. “They’re an excellent staff over there and each sport is hard.”