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Nashville Predators 4, Colorado Avalanche 2: Predators Clinch Playoff Berth with a Win in Colorado

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Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons scored two goals each in a win over the Colorado Avalanche. Nashville clinched a playoff spot with this win, becoming the first team in the NHL to do so this season.

In what might be Juuse Saros’s toughest test of the season, the Predators faced the Colorado Avalanche for a late-ish tilt in the mountains.

Samuel Girard drew a penalty from Colton Sissons, giving the Avalanche their first power play of the evening with less than a minute gone in the period. The penalty killers were successful, and a flurry of saves by Saros really displayed his ability to adjust quickly when attackers crowd his net.

The Predators received a power play with around 8 minutes gone in the first. Gabriel Landeskog was found guilty of tripping P.K. Subban. While there was some excellent puck movement on the power play, no pucks found the back of the net.

Tyson Barrie slashed the living daylights out of Ryan Hartman with about 7 minutes remaining in the first. The Predators returned to the power play, but again could not find a goal. Once back at even strength, the Predators dominated possession for some time. A nifty Subban pass to Colton Sissons gave the Predators their first goal of the evening.

With a minute left in the first, Nathan MacKinnon wired a shot past Saros for the Avalanche’s first goal of the evening. MacKinnon is having an excellent season and his play is incredible.

Relentless effort by a mix of players in the Nashville zone resulted in Colorado’s second goal with about 5 minutes gone in the second. Some gorgeous work several minutes later by Roman Josi, Craig Smith, and Filip Forsberg allowed Nashville to tie the game. Varlamov was way outside his crease, and the Predators caught the Avalanche in a confused moment for their tying goal.

WIth 8 minutes remaining in the second, Sissons added another goal to the scoresheet. Ryan Hartman managed to power down ice and hang on to the puck, and Nick Bonino dished a sweet pass to Sissons for a beautiful goal. Shortly thereafter, Yannick Weber was found guilty of interference and the Predators returned to the penalty kill.

The Predators successfully killed off the Weber penalty, but Colorado continued to pressure. Forsberg drew a penalty on MacKinnon, and the Predators went on another power play. A scary odd-man rush was sent wide of Saros. Nashville was unable to convert on their power play.

The third period began with several chances on both ends, but it was mostly a giant game of keep-away. Subban was whistled for roughing Dominic Toninato in front of the Nashville net, and the Predators returned once again to the penalty kill. Pardon me if you’ve heard this before. Nashville was successful in killing the penalty.

Juuse Saros was once again incredible holding down his crease as the period drew to a close. A scrum in front of him resulted in a no-goal for Colorado because of goalie interference. Saros held his ground and obviously has some incredible core strength.

Mikko Rantanen sent Subban to the box again with 4 minutes remaining in the period. Sissons came up big on the penalty kill with the help of Matt Irwin and Ryan Johansen. Colorado coach Jared Bednar pulled Varlamov with 2 minutes remaining. Viktor Arvidsson and Forsberg pounced on a loose puck and skated it down the ice, resulting in Forsberg’s 20th of the season.

Sissons drew a penalty with around a minute left in the third period, but Nashville was unable to add a fifth goal to the scoresheet.

Tonight’s win clinches a playoff berth for the Nashville Predators. They are the first team in the NHL to do so this season.

Random Observations

  • Juuse Saros, the shorter and younger Nashville Finnish goaler.
  • Nathan MacKinnon is good at hockey.
  • Penalty=killed.
  • Semyon Varlamov has played 16 straight games. Holy heck, someone get that guy some goaltending help.
  • A beautiful PK pass right on Sissons’ tape...1-0 Preds!
  • Jeez, MacKinnon. 1-1 game.
  • Saros’ mask took a field trip.
  • That was the most confused goal I’ve seen in a while. I’ll take it.
  • OMG SISSONS. He’s reached a career high in goals scored. Congrats, Sissons!
  • Penalty=killed.
  • Mike Fisher looks great on the penalty kill. (Mike Fisher looks great in any form/fashion.)
  • Another Sissons chance! This kid is literally always in the right place.
  • Smith almost had that on Varlamov! Hello momentum.
  • Kevin Fiala almost had a tap-in goal!!! Ahh!
  • Penalty=killed.
  • Arvidsson is made of rubber.
  • Penalty=killed.
  • Miikka Salomaki and Austin Watson missing the open net makes me sad. Salty Salomaki could have a gorgeous goal.
  • Arvi and Fil literally making the empty net goal as dramatic as possible.
  • That’s Forsberg’s 20th goal of the season!
  • Points in 14 straight games!!!!! (I’m excited!)
  • Playoff berth clinched. Goodnight, folks!

Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Colton Sissons: He’s an often overlooked member of the the fourth line, but this guy can be your clutch secret weapon. He's developing into an excellent center. He also is finding ways to be in the right spot at the right time. Also: he put forth some incredible effort on the penalty kill tonight.
  2. Filip Forsberg: It’s clear that Fil absolutely needed that goal. He also drew a penalty and set up some fabulous chances for his teammates. His buddy Arvidsson gave him the puck for the empty netter and his 20th goal of the season. That’s friendship, y'all.
  3. Juuse Saros: I think Saros has done his homework. He was able to respond to most of the chances from Colorado’s heavy weapons. Saros swallowed up rebounds tonight, something he struggled with against New Jersey. He gets the tough starts on back-to-back trips, and he stood tall tonight. The younger Finnish goaltender saved 33 of 35 shots in tonight’s game.

Tweets of the Night

Game Video