The Nashville Predators dropped a second Central Division game to the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. The Predators officially move to 17-7-1 with 35 points, still easily the best team in the Central Division as of 25 games into the season.
Nashville Key Stats
Colorado Key Stats
Nashville got on the board first with a weird shot from Hartman. Skating through the neutral zone, Irwin dropped the puck off to Hartman at the blue line. Throwing it on the net, the puck ricocheted off Girard’s skate and into the net. MacKinnon later scored a weird goal of his own on the power play. The game was tied 1-1 at the end of one.
Nashville almost fell behind early in the second period, but a high stick was called on Gabriel Bourque. MacKinnon somehow snuck the puck past Rinne on the far side from a tough angle midway nearing the midpoint, and the Avalanche regained the lead. Two minutes later, Fiala tipped a Forsberg shot-pass over Varmalov’s glove, and just like that, the game was tied again.
A questionable call on Miikka Salomaki in the third period put the Avalanche back on the power play. Jost scored from the slot after a perfect feed from Compher, and Colorado went back up. Nashville intensified their pressure, throwing the puck on Varmalov 20 times, but to no avail. Colorado finished the Predators off after a stressful two minutes of 6v5 hockey.
Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi pushed the offense against the Avalanche, combining for 13 shots. 5 Nashville forwards failed to register a shot on goal- that is a severely imbalanced offense, and it’s obvious where the Predators are generating most of their offense.
Let me put this into perspective: the third line, consisting of Austin Watson, Nick Bonino, and Colton Sissons, absolutely dominated the Anaheim Ducks. The three forwards tallied nine shots and seven points altogether. Both Sissons and Bonino were dynamite in the face-off circle.
Against the Avalanche, none of them got the puck on the net or recorded a point. Sissons and Bonino were not good in the face-off circle. Inconsistency, even in the third line, will not suffice later in the season.
Ellis and Josi have been firing the puck on the net quite frequently and picking up points too. Through the last four games, they have combined for 26 shots and 4 assists. The only other defenseman who is seeing power play time is Mattias Ekholm- both Ellis and Josi are racking up minutes on the man-advantage.
Fiala and Salomaki led the forwards in shots on goal with 4 apiece. Interestingly enough, Salomaki saw the least amount of time on the ice, while Fiala was second in time on the ice behind Ryan Johansen.
Pekka Rinne’s stats are not indicative of how well he played. The game very well could have been 5-2 when Colorado started pressing in the second period, but thanks to the efforts of the Finnish Reindeer, the Predators had a chance to win.
No team can win every game. This wasn’t the worst game the Predators have played, but it wasn’t their best by far. They weren’t lethargic, but there was definitely something missing.
Also, MIIKKA SALOMAKI HAD MORE SHOTS ON GOAL THAN FILIP FORSBERG AND RYAN JOHANSEN COMBINED?!
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators