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Colorado Avalanche 3, Nashville Predators 2: Avs’ top line overpowers Preds

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Pekka Rinne did all he could to keep the Preds in it, but Nathan MacKinnon’s line continued their early-season dominance.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators had very few answers for the top line of the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-2 loss at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Nashville (17-7-1) had an opportunity to put seven points of separation between themselves and Colorado (14-6-4), but Nathan MacKinnon’s two-goal night denied Peter Laviolette his 200th victory with the Predators.

Filip Forsberg had a couple of dangerous chances early, but it was Ryan Hartman who opened the scoring, deflecting a Matt Irwin feed off of Samuel Girard’s skate and past Semyon Varlamov.

A Mattias Ekholm holding call put the Preds on the penalty kill for the first time, and it didn’t take long for Nathan MacKinnon to draw things back even.

Nashville’s first power play attempt came after the Avs were hit with a bench minor for too many men on the ice. It came and went without much excitement. Kevin Fiala, he of some of the worst luck going right now, has a puck bounce over his stick four feet away from a wide-open net.

Ian Cole got the puck through traffic and past Rinne early in the second period, but it was waved off for hitting a high Avs stick on the way in.

Rinne made several strong saves, but was unable to stop MacKinnon from getting his second goal of the night at the 6:22 mark of the period.

Fiala tied the game at the 9:06 mark of the second with a nifty redirection from Forsberg.

A holding penalty against Patrik Nemeth sent the Predators back on the power play, where Rinne bailed his team out with a big save on a Matt Calvert shorthanded chance.

Nashville started the third period on the power play, but was unable to convert again. Miikka Salomaki was called for tripping at 3:27 and Tyson Jost gave Colorado a 3-2 lead on the ensuing power play.

The Predators pulled Pekka Rinne with less than 2:30 to play, but were unable to net the tying goal.

Random Observations

  • Crowd’s a little bit lighter — and definitely quieter — than Sunday night. Long homestand could be having a slight effect, or maybe it’s just Tuesday.
  • Bonino’s line started against the Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen unit, but Joey’s line drew the next shift following the game’s first stoppage.
  • Fil out here making Colorado defensemen look silly again.
  • And now he’s pickpocketing Avs attackers.
  • Rinne with a nice save on Colin Wilson to remind him that this isn’t the playoffs.
  • This place finally has some noise more than 11 minutes in.
  • And right to the penalty kill.
  • What did Kevin Fiala do to get this bad juju?
  • Rinne isn’t letting MacKinnon have the net that easily.
  • Pekka must be having bacon for dinner. He’s saved plenty of it so far.
  • Really sharp shot from MacKinnon. Preds giving too much ground defensively and letting him cut through the high slot.
  • What did Kevin Fiala do to get rid of the bad juju?
  • The power play — it of the 26 percent conversion rate in the last six games — is, well, back up to its usual tricks. Which means giving up shorthanded chances and not much else.
  • Uh oh. Fil hauled down awkwardly with no call and now he’s in some distress on the bench.
  • Nick Bonino just misses hitting Colton Sissons in stride for a breakaway chance.
  • Looks like Forsberg didn’t miss a shift despite having trouble getting over the boards coming off the ice.
  • Every time I turn around, it seems that Nathan MacKinnon is shooting.
  • Tough shot beats Rinne and Colorado has another power play goal.
  • Pekka Rinne has been brilliant, even being down 3-2 this late. It could be so, so much worse.

Three Stars of the Game

  1. MacKinnon. Preds had very few answers for the top line.
  2. Rinne. Yes, he let in three, but this could easily have been 7-2 or worse without his efforts.
  3. Fiala. He’s struggled so badly as of late, so it was great to seem him get one.

Tweets of the Night

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