Avalanche Dominate Game 3, Pekka Pulled in Loss
by Taylor Parks
The Predators would take their 2-0 series lead on the road to Colorado looking to take a commanding 3 game lead. This would be Nashville’s first 2-0 lead with home-ice advantage after two very close games at home this past week, while the Avalanche welcomed their crowd into the Pepsi Center for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.
For the third straight game, the Avalanche would strike early in the first period. In the previous two games, Bridgestone Arena would be able to will the Predators back into the game, but the Avalanche crowd was having none of it. The goal by Blake Comeau would be the first in the period as Colorado would take their most commanding lead of the entire series. Gabriel Bourque and Nathan Mackinnion would both tally and give the Avalanche a convincing 3-0 lead.
At 4:25 of the second, Nathan Mackinnion would tally his second of the game and really cause frustration on the Preds bench. After the 4 goal lead, Pekka Rinne was replaced by Juuse Saros in an effort to spark the team. At 10:23, Ryan Johansen would score on the 5-3 power play to give a little life and hope to the bench. The biggest takeaway from the second period, the Predators really raised their physical play in an effort to spark a comeback.
The Predators would not go quietly into the night. Down 4-1, Juuse Saros made some incredible saves to keep the game close and was finally rewarded on the other end with a goal from Colton Sissons at 7:12. After an empty net goal to go up by 3, Austin Watson would score to bring the lead within 2 goals once again. It would be too little too late, as the Predators would drop game three 5-3.
Things We Learned
Pekka not Rinne-like
I can’t really put my finger on it, but Rinne doesn’t look like himself this series. I’m not taking away his game 1 effort, but In game 2 and 3 he has been exposed. Could the defense in front of him be playing better? Sure, but he is doing himself no favors. If Rinne doesn’t find his game, this could be a very long series.
STAY OUT OF THE BOX
GRRRRRRRRRRRR. This has been their Achilles heel all year but it has not gotten better during the postseason. It really hasn’t hurt them yet due to the Avalanche’s incompetent power play, but IF the Predators move on past this series, this amount of penalties will get them bounced from a series.
Lineup Changes are Coming
Fisher will probably take a seat, defensive pairing s will be messed with. You may even see Tolvanen inserted in the lineup. But I would be absolutely shocked if Saros doesn’t get the start in Game 4. Does Pekka deserve to win the Vezina? Yes, but you have to play the hot hand in the playoffs, and Saros absolutely deserves the start on Wednesday.
Maybe Score First
Photo Credit to the Associated Press