The Nashville Predators may as well have been robbed.
Andrew Hammond, making his first playoff start in three years, made 44 saves to keep the Avalanche alive in the series as Colorado escaped with a 2-1 victory on Friday.
Things were fairly physical, though in a more controlled manner on both sides, in the first period.
The Preds killed off an early Colorado power play after Kevin Fiala was sent off for tripping less than five minutes into the contest.
Nashville began the second period with a full two-minute man advantage as J.T. Compher was called for holding at the end of the first period. The Predators got all of one shot late in the sequence and barely had any zone time to show for it.
Colorado generated several chances in transition, but Pekka Rinne and the Preds defense did their part to keep things scoreless.
Meanwhile, Nashville’s offense made Hammond look less like The Hamburglar and more like a member of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.
Nick Bonino appeared to have scored off his right skate with 9:42 left in regulation, but the goal was immediately waved off. After video review, the call was overturned and the Preds had the lead they so desperately needed.
Gabriel Landeskog finished off a neat passing play for the Avs, tying the game with 4:11 to play in regulation.
A Compfer shot led to an Andrighetto rebound, putting the Avs in front 2-1 with 1:28 to go.
Game 6 is in Denver on Sunday, with a start time scheduled for 6 p.m. Central.
- Good work on the first penalty kill, disrupting Colorado enough to keep them out of rhythm and out of shooting positions in the high slot. Hard to shoot with your back to the net.
- Hartnell playing like an inspired man early on in this one.
- Colin Wilson apparently didn’t learn much in Nashville. Tried to go glove on Rinne. Nah. Probably was too busy having his hand held on flights.
- Good to have Francis Bouillon in the arena tonight. The Cube was one tough fellow when he played in Nashville.
- The JOFA line is definitely on a mission tonight.
- Nashville outshooting Colorado 11-8 after one, but they might want to get in a bit more toward the high-danger areas, like the Avs are.
- Not a good power play to start the second as the Preds barely got set up for one shot attempt.
- Colorado is very much willing to keep this game in the muck if that’s what it takes.
- Preds’ best offensive chance so far, a 4-on-2, and nothing comes of it. The tension is building, for sure.
- Andrew Hammond came up with the Preds’ best scoring chance so far. I’m not kidding. He very nearly put it in his own net under pressure from Austin Watson.
- An unbelievable push by the Preds has the momentum solidly in their favor. Might be a good time to cash in and watch this place come unglued.
- Well...win a period, win the series.
- Fiala back in the box. Perhaps an intervention is needed?
- Fisher with a good shorthanded chance. If this is a night for an unlikely goal scorer, he’d be right up there.
- Another shorthanded chance, this time by Colton Sissons...but it was eight miles wide from six feet away somehow.
- Another terrible power play.
- Turning your skate is not a distinct kicking motion. That is all.
- The Avs have tried to grit their way through this game, but they can’t do that now with their season in immediate danger.
- Landeskog ties it up. Geez. Nothing Rinne could do as the Avs made the defense look bad.
- Forsberg put everything he had into that shot attempt.
- 45 shots on goal, 21 in the third period, Andrew Hammond looked like Patrick Roy.
Super Duper Three Stars of the Game
- Rinne. Colorado had a lot of high-danger chances early, and he did what needed to be done. Despite the loss, his early work still warrants the spot.
- Bonino. Subtle enough, didn’t make a distinct kicking motion.
- Fourth line. Best game of the series for that unit with Hartnell, Jarnkrok and Fisher on it. Does not bode well for Ryan Hartman.
Peter Laviolette on the Avs’ game-winning goal:
“That’s not the way you want a game to end. Their top line got us pinned in there a little bit, and we got a partial change, but not a full change. They got us cycling around a little bit and they were able to capitalize on it off the rush from the offensive zone.
Colton Sissons on Andrew Hammond’s performance:
“He was solid in net. I think we started to make it a little harder on him in the second and third (periods) and just couldn’t find a way to beat him enough tonight. So, kudos to him.”
Nick Bonino on whether the mood is more frustration or disappointment:
“Both. When you have the lead with four-and-a-half minutes to go in an elimination game, you have to close those games.”
Filip Forsberg on whether the Predators might have gotten too aggressive in a 1-1 game:
It’s tough. Situations happen, and we were close to putting one in there right before and it goes the other way ... We’ve got to be able to close out a game, especially here at home, but at the same time, I give (Colorado) credit. They didn’t give up, they kept coming at us and their goalie played good, too.”
Tweets of the Night
``We Want Nashville'' is what the crowd at Bell MTS Place is chanting...— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 21, 2018
It’s time to get mad, be physical and kick some ass. #Preds— Grace Barnhouse (@GraceBarnhouse) April 21, 2018
I would love a #Preds goal so I can stop stress eating animal crackers. C'mon guys, help me out here...— Sandy Weaver (@SandyDWeaver) April 21, 2018
I didn’t expect anything from the PP and I’m still disappointed— Bobby Misey (@Bmisey) April 21, 2018
You still haven’t redeemed yourself, Kevin Pollock.— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) April 21, 2018