Before sweeping the Nashville Predators, the Colorado Avalanche are glad they faced some resistance.
In the first round, they had to rally for the first time.
The Avalanche defeated the Predators 5-3 on Monday night, becoming the first team to move to the second round. Valeri Nichushkin gets the game-winning goal with 7:58 remaining.
Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon stated, “We found a way.” “This is the crucial point. It would help if you found strategies to succeed when you are not at your best. Tonight was one of those instances. We are confident that we will succeed with all of our experience and talent.”
After sweeping their opponent in the first round, the Avalanche are in the Western Conference playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. After cleaning the first three games, they improved to 6-0 in the best-of-seven series since the franchise’s relocation to Denver.
They must now await either St. Louis or Minnesota.
“The principal thing is that we can now take a breath, give our players a couple of days off, and give them some relaxation,” Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said. “We’ll still get perfect practice time before preparing for our next opponent.”
Colorado Avalanche had three-goal scorers: Andre Burakovsky, Cale Makar, and Devon Toews. MacKinnon secured the victory with an empty-net goal with 55.9 seconds remaining and a man advantage.
Yakov Trenin scored twice for Nashville, swept in its 15th playoff trip for the first time in franchise history. At 3:58 of the third period, Filip Forsberg scored his first goal to give Nashville its first series lead, which lasted less than 5 minutes.
“We all take it personally that we could not win a game,” stated Nashville head coach John Hynes.
Colorado outscored Nashville 21-9 over the final 11:05 of the game to win the series. After Toews leveled the game 3-3 at 8:55 of the third period, Nichushkin scored from the right circle to give the Avalanche the lead.
The Predators had a few empty seats during the middle of the first period. Even having Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman wave the pregame rally towel had little effect.
Colorado scored on its first shot attempt of the game for the second time in this series, even though a review requires confirming the goal. Bettors can wager on the OKBET sportsbook for NHL.
The Avalanche began to celebrate after Burakovsky’s wrist shot went through the back of the net, but an official promptly waved it off.
During a 1:56 stoppage, officials assessed the play and determined that the puck had entered the net behind Predators rookie goaltender Connor Ingram, necessitating a net repair.
On Nashville’s first power play, the rookie goaltender had to make a save on a short-handed attempt by the Avalanche, and Colorado had two more shot attempts than the Predators. The Avalanche dominated the opening period, outshooting Nashville 13-6 until Trenin scored his second goal of the series with 61 seconds remaining on a wrist shot from the slot.
Makar put Colorado up 2-1 with a snapshot from near the blue line at 13:33 of the second period, and he nearly scored again on a breakaway about 2 minutes later, but Ingram blocked the puck with his left pad.
“Whenever you have the opportunity to terminate a team’s season, you take it,” Makar said. “You attempt at least. We had many ups and downs tonight, but we wanted this one. I believe our entire group showed remarkable resiliency.”
Trenin once again knotted the game with 3:11 remaining in the second. He rotated correctly and unleashed a wrist shot past Pavel Francouz.
Through a cross-ice feed from Mattias Ekholm, Filip Forsberg scored into an open net behind Francouz to give Nashville a 3-2 lead in the third period.
“You never want to go out 4-for-nothing,” stated the captain of the Nashville team, Roman Josi. “Current conditions are difficult… I believe we performed significantly better in our two home games. However, we did not complete the task. We did not win, so it’s disappointing.” Check out OKBET for the latest updates in NHL.
TIME TO SWEEP
The Avalanche also swept St. Louis in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, Vancouver in the Western quarterfinals of 2001, and Florida in the 1996 Stanley Cup Final.
Finalists for the NORRIS TROPHY
Josi and Makar announce as Norris Trophy finalists earlier on Monday. Josi earned the Norris Trophy in 2020, and his 96 points set a franchise scoring record for the Predators.
Makar is a finalist for the second consecutive season. He led defensemen with 28 goals and became the sixth defenseman in NHL history with seven or more scores through the first three games of the postseason and the first since John Carlson in 2018. Now, he has the most points in the league.
MacKinnon said of Makar, “He may be the greatest player in the league right now.”
Finale of MUSIC CITY?
Forsberg is in the final year of his deal, but Nashville hopes to extend it before he becomes a free agent. Before leaving the rink, Forsberg completed an extra-wide lap waving to supporters after the handshake line.
NIGHT OF TRENIN
The Predators forward became the fourth NHL player in the past 26 years to score multiple tying goals in an elimination game. Joel Kiviranta did it in Game 7 of the second round in 2020, Scott Hartnell in 6 games of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final with Philadelphia, and Matt Cooke in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals in 2004. Read more.