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Nashville Predators 2, Colorado Avalanche 3 (OT): Lack of execution strikes again

Juuse Saros again did his best to keep the team in it, but they were crushed by sustained pressure.

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

Heading into the Christmas break, the Nashville Predators hosted the Colorado Avalanche in a game that started well and ended poorly.

Again the Preds got off to a strong start, pressuring Colorado early and hitting a crossbar. However, before they were able to accomplish much with this energy, Roman Josi was called for tripping and the Avalanche went to the power play. A great penalty kill may have helped give the Preds some confidence, and when Tommy Novak drew a tripping penalty a moment later, a strong power play eventually led to a Ryan Johansen PPG at 12:26.

Nashville continued to attack, but once again was goaded into a penalty, with Alexandre Carrier heading to the penalty box for tripping Evan Rodrigues with just over three minutes left in the period. Again the teams exchanged penalties, as Tanner Jeannot and Yakov Trenin broke in shorthanded and Trenin drew a holding penalty from Rodrigues.

The Avalanche controlled the 4v4, and the Predators were unable to score on the ensuing power play or again heading into intermission, but early in the second period Rodrigues took his second penalty of the night and Matt Duchene was able to score on the power play to give the Preds a two-goal lead.

Carrier also headed back to the penalty box, this time for holding. The Preds were able to kill that penalty, but not stop the Avalanche’s ongoing attack, and despite several big saves from Saros at 12:46 Mikko Rantanen scored with a perfectly-placed shot just under the crossbar to get the Avs on the board.

Despite ongoing pressure from the Avalanche, the Preds were able to get out of the second period without further damage. The Avs continued to pour on the shots in the third, made even more impressive given the number of skaters they’d had head to the dressing room for a time. The Preds were also without Dante Fabbro, though—according to the broadcast team—not for injury. He’d made a poor play on the first goal against.

With 4:55 to remain in the third and the Preds still unable to muster much of a defense, the Avalanche tied the game 2-2 off a very smart tip from JT Compher. Mikael Granlund hit the post on a wide-empty net right after that, and the score remained tied. With 1:11 remaining in regulation, Johansen took a high-sticking penalty and the Preds had to kill some penalty to make it to overtime.

They managed it, then killed the rest of the penalty in overtime. Jusso Pärssinen almost scored to put the game away, but the puck wedged in the outside of the net, and the ensuing whistle let the teams go to 3-on-3 with just over a minute left in overtime. Former Predator Samuel Girard scored right after to win it for the Avalanche.