After a tough loss at home, the Nashville Predators traveled to Colorado in an attempt to finish the series. They did so in shutout fashion.
It was not easy, but nothing worth it ever comes that way. After five games of inconsistent hockey, the Nashville Predators played a complete 60 minutes. We, as fans, waited all series to see this team be the ones we knew they were. Tonight, we witnessed just how complete the Predators truly can be. With a 5-0 shutout of the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville can now look forward to the next round and the Winnipeg Jets.
From the moment the puck dropped in Denver, the Predators dominated Game 6. The collective numbers back that up. As a team, Nashville outshot the Avalanche 37 to 22, won 63% of the face-offs, and was called for only two penalties. During 5v5 situations, the Predators garnered 24 scoring chances, nine of which were in high-danger areas. Colorado was only able to obtain 12 and 3, respectively.
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Play was physical at times. Fans responded with choruses of “boo” anytime they believed the Predators committed a penalty. Yet, the whistles did not blow. When the game was over, the Predators stood tall and victorious.
It didn’t take long for the Nashville Predators to make a statement tonight. Just over five minutes into the game, the Predators thought they gained the first goal of the night. Kyle Turris, however, was called for goalie interference even though Andrew Hammond was three-feet outside the crease. The play was reviewed and the call stood.
It didn’t take long for the team to respond. At the 7:02 mark, Mattias Ekholm blasted the first goal by Nashville defensemen in the series. Three minutes later, Nick Bonino completed a no-look pass to Colton Sissons, who shot hit the post. Austin Watson was right there to collect the rebound and score his fourth goal of the series. Both Sissons and Bonino assisted on the two goals.
The first period ended with the Predators up 2-0, with more to come. Just after the second period started, Nathan MacKinnon‘s line turned the puck over to Filip Forsberg. With clear ice ahead, Forsberg used his speed and shot the puck under Hammond’s left arm.
The second period was Colorado’s best. All three of their high-danger chances came during the second session. However, so did their penalties. As the Predators continued to score, the Avalanche played physical. Nikita Zadorov was called for interference on Viktor Arvidsson, and Sven Andrighetto drew a cross-checking call at the same time. Zadorov’s retaliation to a Ryan Ellis‘s trip gained him a roughing and misconduct call.
The physical play did not change the focus of Nashville. Even with all the extra activity after whistles, the Predators did not budge. Bonino increased the lead to 4-0 in the second with a wrister from the slot. After this goal, the Avalanche were buried.
The third period started like the other two. Nashville came out firing. Just two and a half minutes in, P.K. Subban found Arvidsson down ice. The pass lead to a breakaway, and a nifty goal for the young forward.
Colorado gained zero scoring chances in the third period and accumulated only five shots on goal. Nashville kept the Avalanche at bay all night. MacKinnon, who had scored at will during the series, was limited to only one shot. As a team, the Avalanche only gained 22 shots. Pekka Rinne stopped them all.
The Nashville Predators came into the series a heavy favorite, but Colorado played hard the entire time. In the end, the Predators completed the task at hand. They have now won 14 of the last 16 against Colorado.
Their attention now turns to the Winnipeg Jets, who completed their series in five games. Nashville won the high-scoring season series 3-1-1. The second round series will begin in Nashville later this week.