by Jackson Walsh
The Nashville Predators just keep earning points. They have wins in 15 of their last 16 games and have pulled points in all of those. The team now sits at 104 points and are the first team to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Preds are still coasting atop the Central Division, which feels great after a tough back end of a back-to-backwith a worthy rival in Colorado.
Colton “Colt 45” Sissons, who would later become the first star of the game, opened up the scoring 17:26 into the first. His goal came off a nifty wrist shot after receiving a soft pass from P.K. Subban. Preds 1, Avs 0.
Colorado would not let up in this contest. They were very fast and pressed both ends of the ice very well. Nathan MacKinnon tied it up for the Avalanche off a hard shot that wrung off the iron, past young Saros by a mile. Game’s tied at 1.
Gabriel Landeskog, a typical Pred killer who set traffic in front of Saros for the first goal, scored number 2 for the Avs after pushing the puck through the five hole of Saros off a bouncing puck. Avs 2, Preds 1.
Filip Forsberg’s eventual tying goal 6:28 into the second period was similar, after Smith wrung the puck off both posts, Forsberg tipped it in the back of the net. Game tied at two goals each.
The teams would trade penalties, hits, and blows all game. It seemed the “P.K.” was what Subban contributed to the game, as in penalty kill, going into the box twice in the third. The penalties would be warded off, allowing no goals, but the intensity clearly was there in the Rockies, two hungry Western Conference teams solidifying their spot in the postseason.
Colton Sissons scored again in what would be the eventual game winner, a one timer past Varlamov to seal the win. Preds 3, Avs 2.
Add a reluctant empty netter from Forsberg, who kept trying to give the puck back to a polite Viktor Arvidsson, and it was 4-2 Preds at the final horn. This team is ready for postseason hockey. Sabres next in Buffalo on Monday night.
Photo: David Zubowski/AP photo