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Nashville Predators 5, Colorado Avalanche 2: Preds Prevail Despite Penalty Parade

The Predators were shorthanded for almost an entire period, but still found a way to dominate a young Avalanche team and put Thursday night in the rear view mirror.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

After an abysmal finish to Thursday night’s game in Minnesota, the Nashville Predators needed to respond. They did so tonight with a (sort of) complete effort against the Colorado Avalanche, winning 5-2. Ten different players got a point and Pekka Rinne had 29 saves to get his 10th win of the season.

The disclaimer on this game for the Preds is regarding penalties—they took seven penalties in this one, including a five minute major, which could have spelled disaster.

It started early in the first period. The Predators took two early penalties—both for having too many men on the ice—but killed them both off. Then Austin Watson committed an egregious boarding penalty on NHL newbie Dominic Toninato. He flew in late and hit Toninato up high into the boards, leading to a five minute major and game misconduct on Watson. If he’s not also suspended, I’ll be surprised.

But the Avalanche were unable to score during the ensuing major power play, nor on any of their 11 power play minutes in the period. They really didn’t even come close. And then when the Predators earned a power play of their own, Craig Smith knocked home a rebound to put the home team up 1-0.

The 2nd period saw a bit more even strength play, with both teams fighting for possession in a clogged neutral zone. Then with 11 minutes left in the period, Roman Josi found Colton Sissons in front of the Colorado net to make it a 2-0 game. It was such a beautiful pass from Josi and a skillful redirection by Sissons. Not two minutes later, Anthony Bitetto rocketed home a slap shot from the blueline for just his second career NHL goal.

After killing off yet another penalty, the Preds took a 3-0 lead into the 3rd period, which, considering recent history, was more worrisome than it should have been.

Thankfully, the Predators were able to hold on to the lead and even add to it. Mattias Ekholm powered home a slap shot on the power play to make it 4-0. Then Viktor Arvidsson redirected a P.K. Subban shot into the net to make it 5-0. Pekka Rinne did his thing the rest of the way and despite two late goals by the Avs by Andrei Mironov and J.T. Compher, the Preds secured the victory with ease.

But those penalties, folks. They’ve got to figure that part out. Leading the league in that category all year is not a recipe for success.

Random Observations

  • The Predators have a serious penalty problem. Too many men on the ice gets them this time early in the 1st. The penalty kill has been helping them out—as it does here—but you just can’t keep parading into the box every night.
  • And yet they keep doing it.
  • Wow, Watty just nearly killed a guy.
  • Inexcusable from Watson. How in your right mind do you follow through on that hit that was clearly late, up high, and near the boards?
  • The penalty kill is getting overtime and then some in this period.
  • SMITTY!! Wow the special teams are coming up big. Great rebound in front following some net presence from Arvy and Smith is all over it.
  • Sissons joins the 4th line in Watson’s absence, along with his other role on the Bonino-Jarnkrok line.
  • The Avs really don’t have a lot going, but they’ve generated some decent pressure on the Preds blueline. They’ve forced some careless turnovers and turned them into chances, but most of those chances have ended up nowhere near the goal.
  • Sissons!!! Wow what a play by Josi to find him in front of the net. That was a very skilled play by both players—Josi to send that pass accurately with speed and Sissons to deflect it as he was going the other way across the goal crease.
  • And now Tony scores!! A rocket slap shot from the blue line finds the back of the net. 3-0!
  • We’ve seen some three goal leads disappear quickly, so lets not get ahead of ourselves.
  • And with the Preds still taking penalties, anything can happen.
  • So far this 3rd period is uneventful. Rinne had to make an important save, but the Preds haven’t had the puck much.
  • Ekholm has been hammering the puck lately. He gets another goal in this one and it was so perfectly placed.
  • Arvy scored too!! This is a much better way to not blow a lead.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Craig Smith: Another great game from Smitty. Goal and an assist, pushed the puck up the ice all night. Excellent.
  2. Pekka Rinne: A nice rebound game from him. After giving up at least three goals in four of his last five games, Rinne was solid in net. The two late goals weren’t excellent, but he was on his game when the game was still in doubt.
  3. Roman Josi: Just sensational. All night. Incredible passing, incredible skating, great defense. The Captain.

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