Colorado Avalanche Serve as Inspiration to the Predators

Mar 28, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro (63) celebrates after a goal during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro (63) celebrates after a goal during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Colorado Avalanche seemed to serve as unlikely inspiration to the Nashville Predators, who blew their Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks.

The Nashville Predators skated like the Colorado Avalanche in their Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks. Unfortunately, they skated like the Avalanche of the last nine games of the 2015-16 season.

I was cheering for the San Jose Sharks last night — in the wake of any other valid reason (since my bracket is dead), I want to keep bringing attention to Sharks Cat:

Public Service Announcement: Black cats make good pets, too, even though they recede into the shadows at the shelter.

Anyway, back to hockey. Even though I was cheering on the Sharks last night, I was embarrassed for the Predators. However, their play also looked uncomfortably familiar — they looked like the Colorado Avalanche did at the end of the season when they imploded.

Last night the San Jose Sharks looked like a solid team ready to make a run for their first-ever Stanley Cup. The Predators looked ready to make a run for the Nashville-area bars and summer vacation. Actually, they played a little like they’d already been hitting the bars even though the game was in San Jose.

Nashville started out so lethargic. Through two full periods and part of the third, the Predators managed to record only nine shots on goal. In the third period they finally indulged in a flurry of activity, but it was too little way too late.

Come on, doesn’t that sound exactly like the Colorado Avalanche?

What’s more, men who have been playing since they were wee ones suddenly forgot how to hockey. Most notable were Nashville’s prime defensemen, Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Both got burned for important goals.

Lapses in focus leading to a complete breakdown — again, isn’t that a familiar tune for Colorado Avalanche fans?

More from Avalanche News

Predators coach Peter Laviolette finally pulled Predators goalie Pekka Rinnie after he let in his fifth goal, which was in the third period. It’s unfair to say that Rinne cost Nashville the game any more than you could say Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov cost games, though it is somewhat true. No, the Predators didn’t score a single goal in front of Rinne, but allowing five goals in 26 shots is not going to win games either.

I think head coach Patrick Roy, a retired Hall of Fame goalie himself, would have pulled Rinne much sooner, probably after the second period. He knows that pulling the goalie first of all sometimes heralds mercy. Additionally, it makes a statement to the rest of the team to wake up.

Likewise, I’m certain that coach Roy would have pulled the goalie for the extra attacker when his team went on the power play with just over five minutes left in the third. And why not? The team was already down 5-0 — why not put your balls on the table? 6 or 7 to nothing isn’t really any worse than five to nothing for a final score, but a 5-1 late in the third is doable, though highly improbable.

Anyway, I’m not here to bash on the Avalanche or the Predators — actually, I’m fine bashing on the Predators. Concerning the Colorado Avalanche, though, hopefully the players watching were as uncomfortable as I was at times. Hopefully they can store that memory away as a further reserve of strength to be better themselves.

And hopefully they have a critical enough eye to recognize that the Predators’ inglorious end absolutely does cancel out the impressive run that came before. There are no participation medals in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and a player who wants to drink champagne from Lord Stanley’s cup should never be satisfied with anything less.

Can you really envision Patrick Roy in his playing days being philosophical about playoff elimination? Me either.

Next: Lessons for the Avs from the Caps

On that note, let’s revisit a little passion from Pekka Rinne:

I can’t envision Semyon Varlamov showing that much passion. However, remember one of the times Patrick Roy did?

No, that’s not a man who ever accepts defeat — and no one on the current Colorado Avalanche squad should either.