Late Night Musings: Avalanche Predators Game


The Colorado Avalanche hosted the Nashville Predators for a divisional rivalry game.  After spending a lot of the season at the top of the Central Division, the Predators have fallen to second place. After spending a lot of the season at the bottom of the Central Division, the Avs… have stayed there.

Tonight didn’t help. Nashville forward Filip Forsberg — no relation to our Hall of Famer — scored just 2 1/2 minutes into the game. That stood as the only goal for most of the game until the Predators got two empty-netters. The Avalanche were shut out.

The Avs played well. They were outshot for a lot of the game, but that’s because they kept having to go on the penalty kill. Indeed, the penalty kill was perfect, stopping all six of Nashville’s power plays. Colorado, on the other hand, only had about three minutes of power play.

Center Matt Duchene killed it on faceoffs, winning an impressive 83%. Max Talbot and Nathan MacKinnon also had winning faceoff percentages, both going 60%. Ryan O’Reilly also won 55% of his faceoffs. That didn’t matter — the Predators still kept the Avs off the board.

Calvin Pickard was the second star of the night, making 33 out of 34 shots. He was hard on himself, stating he didn’t like his start when he let that single goal in. However, he also made a highlight reel save — and 32 other important saves. No one’s doubting he kept the Avs in the game. Indeed, to a man the skaters stated Picks kept them in.

Duchene and captain Gabriel Landeskog both had things to say after the game, as did Nathan MacKinnon.

While acknowledging that the Predators are an excellent defensive team, Duchene felt the Avs “didn’t have nearly enough.” He added:

"“We gave ourselves a chance to win by the way we played defensively and how we penalty killed. I mean, it’s not a 3-0 game, it’s a 1-0 game, but the goose egg’s on the board for us for a reason.”"

Both Landeskog and MacKinnon felt the Avalanche had a chance to tie up and even win the game. Landeskog said of the game:

"“We had our chances. We hit three or four posts. We had enough chances to tie up the game — there’s no doubt about that. I feel like we were into it all the way to the end.”"

MacKinnon concurred, adding:

"“I felt like we did what we wanted to do. [Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne] just played really well. Obviously we need to find a way to score, but I still think we could have had more than 25, 26 shots, but it wasn’t a horrific offense tonight.”"

MacKinnon certainly did his part on that last, recording seven shots. The next closest shooter was Landeskog, who continues to be snake-bitten despite his four shots.

All the players state they have to be better, they “have to find a way to win.” Duchene for one thinks the Avs just don’t have their head in the game in the right way:

"“I think right now we’re trying too much when we should keep it simple, and we’re keeping it simple when we should try something. I think we’re all a little bit confused maybe with that. It’s tough right now, that sort of game kind of takes the wind out of your sails. “"

Naturally, Landeskog and MacKinnon were down after the game. Nate was said to be at his locker with head hanging low. Landeskog, atypically, was negative when he stated, “Yeah, it sucks.”

They all know they need to “regroup and get ready for the next one,” as Duchene put it. Indeed, Landeskog feels the teams is “good enough team to skate with any team in this league.”

Needless to say, Avs Nation would like to believe that, too. The Avs get their chance again on Thursday when they meet another divisional opponent, the Winnipeg Jets.