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Nashville Predators 4, Colorado Avalanche 1: Colton Sissons, Coach’s Challenge Buoy Preds Past Avs

Colton Sissons’ contributions are often unsung, but important. So are the Preds’ video coaches.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville and Colorado faced off tonight in a first round rematch that was everything it was billed to be: two high-flying first lines, plenty of speed, and a Colton Sissons hat trick.

The game started off as per usual, with a quick icing call against Nashville. A good shift by the top line provided some chances in the offensive zone, quickly followed by a counterstrike by Colorado's top line, causing Josi to take a slashing call against the streaking Nathan MacKinnon. The Preds' PK proved up to the task, however, and Ryan Ellis even got a nice breakaway chance, although he was stopped by Varlamov. The teams continued to trade chances until a feed from a spinning Ekholm found Bonino in the slot, and Sissons put it home. 1-0 Nashville.

The first period continued much as it began, with Colorado getting quite a few good chances, but Rinne was up to the task. With less than three minutes to go in the first period, some good play along the boards in front of the benches by Josi allows him to set up Colton Sissons for his second goal of the night, 2-0. Varlamov probably wants that one back as it beat him cleanly on the far side.

The second period opened much as the first period, with traded chances, but an extended defensive zone shift by the third line against Colorado’s top line and Samuel Girard leads to a goal against by Ian Cole. But wait! Girard’s signature spin move put the play offside, and Laviolette successfully challenged the goal. Still 2-0.

Nikita Zadorov got a little too enthusiastic with doling hits and took an interference penalty against Craig Smith. Preds to the power play, but they immediately gave up a shorthanded breakaway and spent the rest of the man advantage spinning around in their own zone.

The Avs’ top line drew another penalty, this time a hooking call against Sissons. A high tip by Matt Calvert on a Girard feed led to a powerplay goal, but it was initially waved off for a high stick. After an on-ice conference by the refs, it was determined that the call on the ice stands: good goal. Head scratcher or no, the Preds’ lead was cut to 2-1.

Vladislav Kamenev, another of the long line of former Nashville Predators on the Avalanche, took an ill-advised holding penalty against Colton Sissons. Nashville back on the powerplay. Although they didn’t score, they were able to keep extended zone time and get a few quality chances before Kamenev was out of the box.

Ryan Hartman got tangled up with Girard behind the Colorado net and seemed to be injured, but he returned shortly after. Kyle Turris’s head also became acquainted with the glass by way of Nikita Zadorov’s shoulder, but he didn’t leave the game. The game was getting a bit chippy, evidenced by a few hot mic selections between the two teams.

Late in the period, Hartman drew a somewhat weak slashing call against Mikko Rantanen while keeping the puck in the offensive zone. The power play improved each time on the ice, and this time it broke through, with a Turris shot deflecting off of Sissons for the hat trick. 3-1 Nashville with less than three seconds left in the second period.

Near the midpoint of the third period, a fluke keep-in by Ian Cole on an attempted Zac Rinaldo clear allowed Colin Wilson to score, but the goal was again challenged for offside. Alex Kerfoot had entered the zone ahead of the play: no goal, still 3-1.

Two minutes later, a clearing attempt by Anthony Bitetto sailed out of play and the Avalanche went back to the powerplay with just over ten minutes left. The Preds managed to kill it off without much trouble. Colorado pulled their goalie with just over three minutes left but gave up possession fairly quickly. After some back-and-forth, Nick Bonino passed the puck to Ryan Hartman for the empty net goal, 4-1.

Random Observations

  • Thank you, TJ Oshie for a reasonable puck drop time
  • I guess that's a slash.
  • Shorthanded breakaways by defensemen is Peak Nashville
  • Always go get a stick. Always.
  • Colin Wilson is everywhere tonight. Maybe they told him it’s April.
  • Maybe the Preds could stop going offside?
  • Bonino to Ekholm to Bonino to Sissons.
  • Jarnkrok deflects a puck into Drie’s face and is visibly concerned. Pretty classy.
  • I’ve been Kevin Fiala’s biggest defender but he does not look great right now.
  • The key to the third line’s offense was getting assists from the defensemen
  • Salomaki just doesn’t have it, does he.
  • Forsberg is a bigger guy than we give him credit for.
  • Zadorov squished Jarnkrok (legally) and Smith (illegally)
  • This powerplay should probably get someone fired.
  • Hot mic!
  • I am very tired of Zadorov boarding people.
  • Forsberg, just doing Forsberg things.
  • Josi with the spin move!
  • Sissons chooses super random games to be an offensive superstar but I’m okay with it.
  • This video review is downright silly at this point.
  • This is the worst penalty.
  • Four minutes to go, it’s time for the almost-icings
  • The Forsberg empty net attempt could have been bad
  • Frosties!

Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Colton Sissons. Always a hard worker, it’s good to see him rewarded occasionally with a totally out of the blue hat trick.
  2. Lawrence Feloney/Andrew Meloche:

3. Nick Bonino. I rag on him a lot, but he had three assists and was on the ice for every Nashville goal.

Tweets of the Night