Preds freeze Avalanche despite chip on their shoulder to open up playoffs
by Jackson Walsh
The Stanley Cup playoffs has officially begun, Smashvillians. A time where the gold lights flash bright from both rinkside lighting and possibly flashing bracelets. Nobody likes a beat up car, but our smashcar out front of the arena is the one exception having the other teams logo emblazoned on the front.
Fans walk the pedestrian bridgebeneath “Stand With Us” banners representing each player. Everyone’s excited and decked in gold, boldly exclaiming that there’s nothing like playoff hockey in Nashville. And after a hard fought start the Predators finished strong by defeating the Avalanche 5-2 at home Thursday.
The Predator faithful would be depleted of their “Playoff loud” energy on Colorado’s first shot on goal when Nikita Zadorov put the Avs on the board first 6:36 into the opening period off a wrister in the high slot past Rinne top shelf.
Later, Austin Watson would get the crowd rocking again with a quick snipe by Jonathan Bernier 3:16 into the second period to even the score. As Paul McCann was announcing the “Hermitage Lighting Gallery First Goal of the Game”, however, the Avalanche proved they were here for a game.
The Avs would go ahead 2-1 on another high wrister this time through traffic scored by Blake Comeau 4:51 into the second tipped in off a shot by Carl Soderberg. Once again, the Smashville faithful would face the frustration of trailing in a playoff game.
Not to fear, for Craig Smith, lurking in front of the net, would once again knot up the score 8:50 in the second period off a beautiful pass from Ryan Johansen.
What would follow would be lots of back and forth in period number three, some great saves by Rinne, and finally, the Predators have a playoff lead off the tip of Filip Forsberg’s stick 6:08 into the period to put the Predators ahead 3-2.
And then, guess who? The man called Scoresberg does it again! 12:10 in the third period, Forsberg went coast to coast one-on-one with Bernier to put the good guys up 4-2 with the trademark “Frosty” goal.
The Avalanche would pull their goalie with three minutes left to try the extra attacker and would fail miserably. After a race for the puck, Colton Sissons would slide it back door into the empty net solidifying the final score at 5-2.
A victory in this game was especially nice, it’s always important to win Game 1. It gives you that win to start out, and minor dominance in a hard series. However, Colorado is a very, very tough team with not only one of the best first lines of the game, but they play as a team. They came to Smashville knowing they were the underdog, and made us fight for it. This was not your typical eight seed versus first seed by any stretch of the imagination. The two teams were evenly matched, it’s just great that our guys came out on top. Game 2 will be Saturday at 2:00 pm, a matinee showdown back at Bridgestone Arena. Let’s keep this going.
Image courtesy of the Nashville Predators