Then the puck dropped Saturday afternoon and it was Thursday night’s scare all over again. The Avs opened up the scoring with a goal from Gabriel Bourque with an assist from Colin Wilson. The Former Nashville Predators of Colorado were out for revenge, and to be honest, it hurt a little bit.
Much like Thursday, an early lead wasn’t enough to carry the Avs. Maybe Nashville still had some nerves they needed to shake out or maybe they have something against the first period, but they came out revived in the second and third. Trading goals with Colorado until the Avs ran out of answers. The Preds put up five goals from five different players to take Game 2.
The Nashville Predators are a lot of things, but they are not a boring hockey team.
Here’s a look at the key factors from yesterday’s win.
What’s this now? Two games in a row?
That’s right! For the second game in a row, the Preds have capitalized by putting in a solid effort on the power play.
After Colorado went up early in the first, it seemed like both teams were doing their best to stay out of the penalty box. This is especially crucial for Nashville, as we know how dangerous Colorado can be on the power play.
A tripping call on Gabriel Landeskog late in the first meant the Preds would come out on the man advantage in the second and Kevin Fiala wasted no time evening the score.
A nice setup from Kyle Turris and Colton Sissons right to Fiala who was wide open in-front of Jonathan Bernier.
I’m not sure what Patrik Nemeth was doing here. It looks like he backed out of Fiala’s way and his positioning caused Fiala’s shot to redirect off his skate and fly right past Bernier. That’s a tough one for Colorado, but you can’t give a guy like Fiala a lane like that, or he’s going to score on you! Or off you in this case.
Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen
Filip Forsberg might have put on a clinic Thursday night, but the rest of JOFA came to snipe Saturday afternoon.
Nashville and Colorado took penalties within seconds of each other to cancel out the man advantage for each team, but Nashville didn’t need it.
Viktor Arvidsson gets the puck from behind the Preds’ blue-line and Colorado doesn’t stand a chance as he carries it all the way down ice to laser beam one right past Bernier to give the Preds the lead.
Bernier didn’t have a chance.
Then this happened.
Without divulging too much into yesterday’s officiating (it was uh...interesting).
[Red Wedding occurs]— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) April 14, 2018
“CLEAN CLEAN, NOTHING THERE” https://t.co/f3qhFuQZHd
The Preds ended up in another 4v4 hockey situation with the Avs at the end of the second period, which led to this...
Ryan Johansen breakaway back-hand goal!
You heard me.
P.K. Subban sacrificed his entire body to block the puck in-front of Rinne. Mattias Ekholm looks to clear the puck down ice, where Johansen scopes it up just past center ice and he’s gone!
Similar to Arvy’s goal, Colorado didn’t have a chance. Bernier...tried.
After a rough start to the series Thursday night, Arvy and Joey needed this confidence boost. There is no JOFA without them, but Forsberg can’t carry them through the playoffs. The team needs these guys to step up in these games in big ways, just like this. If they keep this up, Colorado stays home after Game 4.
We need to talk about Austin Watson more often, because WOW! What a guy.
The Preds took advantage of a bad line-change where Colorado probably should have been called for too many men, but Watson doesn’t even bat an eyelash he just snaps one home.
That confidence! Poor Bernier.
This is a huge goal for a few reasons. This is the playoffs, the officiating and the rule books are out the window. This is nothing new, but it’s broken teams before. Instead of collapsing, they answered with a goal. That’s what you want in these situations. Move on and play your game.
Secondly, goals like this are expected from guys like Forsberg, Johansen, Fiala, and Arvidsson. Watson is a bottom six forward who had 14 goals in the regular season, one less than Ryan Johansen, and now he has two goals in the playoffs. He’s your living breathing, toothless example of how deep the Preds offense runs.
Ryan Hartman tallies the fifth goal with the empty-netter.
And it’s a good thing he did, otherwise this game could have gone to OT after Alexander Kerfoot managed to sneak one past Rinne in the final minute of the game.
Colorado’s other two goals came from Nathan MacKinnon, and Landeskog, two guys we’ve previously discussed the Preds needing to shut down.
Ideally you don’t want to see Nashville giving up four goals, and if they want to continue to lead this series the defense is going to have to get tighter in front of Rinne. The options for the third pairing are limited, it’s been like that all season, but if we have to live in a world where Alexei Emelin is still part of our defensive core, the least they can do is make it as painless as possible.
The Avs are only going to get more desperate from here. The Preds are going to have to come out ready to play three full periods of hockey. The offense has already exploded, putting up 10 goals in two games. If the defense starts putting up goals in Game 3 and Game 4, Colorado gets swept. Don’t @ me.