by Taylor Parks
4 DOWN 12 TO GO
After a blown 3rd period lead just two days ago, the Predators were forced to travel back to Colorado to by game 6. The Predators were looking to once again eliminate the young and pesky Colorado Avalanche team that had given the fits during the first round. After the loss in game 5, the Predators were suddenly the team playing with all of the pressure and were in need of a very desperate effort. Fortunately for the Preds, Nashville played their first complete game of the entire series.
For the first time in the series, the Predators didn’t rely on their skill to win the game. The Predators skated faster, played smarter, and finally matched the physicality of the Avalanche. This is the Predators team the fans expected from the onset.
Just after the refs waved off another goal due to goaltender interference (shocking I know) Matias Ekholm left no doubt, and scored the first goal of the game at 7:01 of the first period. This would be the first goal by a Predator’s defensemen in the series. Arguably the MVP of the series, Austin Watson, would double the score at 10:19 after yet another fantastic shift from the Bonino line.
During the second period, Filip Forsberg would score just 38 seconds in to really silence the Pepsi Center crowd. Things would unravel for the Avalanche just 8 minutes later as Nick Bonino would tally his 2nd of the series to really crush all hope of a Colorado comeback. This is where the hockey game would turn into a boxing match as the Avalanche would bring undisciplined play to center ice.
The Predators continued their dominance in the third by adding a goal by Viktor Arvidsson off a beautiful pass from PK Subban. The Predators ran out the time and officially punched their ticket to round 2.
What We Learned
The Predators are Who we Thought they Were
It just took too long for them to show their colors. Were there moments of doubt? Absolutely, but this team (as it has done all year) came in clutch when it mattered most and played their most complete game in about a month. This is a game you can build off of, and could help the Predators gain some momentum heading back to Nashville.
Will the Second Line Please Stand Up
Turris, Smith, anyone please! It has been a struggle to watch this line play this series and they were often exposed against Colorado. Turris was invisible, Smith was almost efficient and Fiala got moved down to the 4th line for game 6. What once was the best line on the team has had some trouble the past few weeks. It will be interesting to see what Laviolette chooses to do heading into a series against Winnipeg.
Give Colorado Credit
I don’t like to be that guy, but I tried to warn people about Colorado. In this article Here I outlined the 3 teams the Predators should be weary of playing in the playoffs. The Colorado Avalanche were definitely on this list. They are young, fast, have nothing to lose, and were honestly built to give the Predators fits. Nothing but respect for what their team accomplished this year. It truly is remarkable.
Also, the Predators 2nd round opponent is on the list. Read all about them.
Relax, Celebrate, Recalibrate
Enjoy the win, but know that if the Predators play like they did against Colorado against the Jets, the Preds will get bounced in 5. There is a storm brewing Preds fans. Make sure your blood pressure medicine prescription is filled.