Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Final Score: Colorado Avalanche – 5 Nashville Predators 4 (SO)
*What a game of emotions.
*The Colorado Avalanche started this game terribly. They didn’t get their first shot until nearly 10 minutes in and finished the first period with only three shots.
*The Nashville Predators took advantage of the Avs slow start by peppering Semyon Varlamov with 13 first period shots.
*Roman Jossi scored twice in the first period, both on long shots that Varly probably wants back. It looked like the first shot skipped on him and he didn’t see the second shot, but I’m sure he feels that he could’ve stopped at least one of them.
*Gabriel Landeskog bailed out the Avs woeful first period effort with a nice goal in the final minute of the period. Nathan MacKinnon used his speed to get into the zone, dropped it off to Paul Stastny in the circle, who set up Landeskog in the low slot for the goal.
*The Avs were lucky things weren’t 4-0 after the first. Varly made some big saves and Landy’s goal was a spark.
*I figured the Avs would get off to a slow start after not playing since Friday and unfortunately I was right. Again, they were very lucky things weren’t worse after 20 minutes.
*Landeskog tied things up midway through the second after a nice two man game between him and Stastny. Landeskog dropped the puck at the top of the faceoff circle where Stastny picked it up and fed it back to Landeskog in the high slot, who fired a shot past Pekka Rinne.
*Matt Cullen put the Preds back up late in the 2nd after he was allowed to walk in all alone and roof a shot over Varlamov. Cullen was alone because Jan Hejda forgot to rotate to the shooter as Erik Johnson was coming over to play the pass.
*The final ten minutes of the third period were crazy.
*Matt Duchene, who wasn’t good for most of the night, jumped onto the ice with Cody McLeod and Max Talbot, did a lot of hard work behind the net, and found McLeod out front. McLeod was stopped once, but wouldn’t be denied on the rebound to tie things at 3. McLeod broke his stick over his knee after the goal. Why? Because he’s Cody McLeod.
*The Preds regained the lead 3 minutes later on another goal by Cullen, who tipped a Ryan Ellis pass past Varly after a giveaway by Hejda at the blueline.
*The unsung hero of the Avs defense, Nick Holden, salvaged things with a quick shot that beat Rinne, one that he definitely wants back.
*Holden took a penalty with 2:12 remaining in the game, but luckily the Avs were able to kill it off and get a point.
*Not too many quality chances in overtime for either team.
*The Predators are really bad in the shootout. They don’t have scorers and Rinne can’t make every save. He was beat on all three shots, but only two went in because Duchene couldn’t lift the puck over his pad when he was down and out.
*Ryan O’Reilly and Landeskog scored in the shootout to give the Avs the win.
*The Avs will be happy with the victory, but they didn’t play particuarly well in this game.
*Duchene, O’Reilly, and MacKinnon were invisible in this game outside of Duchene’s strong play on the third goal, O’Reilly’s shootout goal, and MacKinnon’s speed on the first marker.
*Hejda and Johnson were terrible. They only finished -1, but I can’t count on two hands how many turnovers, bad passes, and bad decisions they made. I’ve been on their case a lot these past few games, but they deserve it with the way they’ve been playing.
*The Avs penalty kill went 2/2. THE SHIP HAS BEEN RIGHTED!
*The talk over the weekend was that the Avs leaders needed to step up in the midst of this winless streak. 2 goals by captain Landeskog, 2 assist by assistant captain Stastny, and a goal by assistant captain McLeod. They answered the call.
*I thought the Avs fourth line of Brad Malone, Paul Carey, and Patrick Bordeleau were great in this game. In fact, they were probably the Avs second best line until Patrick Roy kept them on the bench when the team needed scoring. Malone was hitting everything that moved while Carey and Bordeleau played strong and smart hockey.
*Snapping a three game winless streak is nice, but the Avs have to tighten up down the stretch and into the playoffs.
*Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Dallas Stars to remain 3 points up on the Avs in the division.
Next Up: vs. Vancouver Canucks