On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche began a two-game back-t0-back schedule, starting out in Denver, then moving the action to Nashville on Thursday. The Predators and the Avalanche only meet three times during this season, and with the first two being back-t0-back, both teams were looking to dominate the two-game series. Since we’re writing this with the Philadelphia game tonight in Nashville, we’ll shorten both games with the highlights of both games. That, and you probably already know who dominated the two-game series…!
Tuesday in Denver :
- Jerred Smithson and Jack Hillen found themselves scratched for the night in Denver. Although Jack Hillen’s scratch was a healthy one, Smithson’s was a little more complicated. Due to an undetermined lower-body injury, Smithson’s condition could render him out for a few games.
- The Predators came out in Denver with hunger in their eyes, completely dominating the first period. The Predators in the first period alone had thirteen shots compared to the Avalanche’s six, if that tells you anything.
- Nick Spaling drew blood first at 4:31 in the first period, with assistance from Jordin Tootoo and rookie Gabriel Bourque.
- Thanks to a tripping penalty from Colorado’s T.J. Galiardi, Ryan Ellis was able to notch his second NHL career goal at 7:41 on the power play. He was assisted by Martin Erat and fellow rookie Roman Josi.
- From his assist on Ellis’s goal, Martin Erat was quick to make a goal of his own at 15:05 with assistance from Mike Fisher and Ryan Suter.
- Ryan O’Reilly would put the Avalanche on the board at 19:24 of the second period on a power play due to a hooking call on Francis Bouillon, but it wasn’t enough for the Avalanche to stop the Predators.
- Patric Hornqvist would finish up the game with a goal at 15:34 in the 3rd period with assistance from Ryan Ellis.
- As this season has proven, anytime Nick Spaling scores, the Predators haven’t lost in regulation. Nick Spaling should score more often.
- Pekka was also on his game Tuesday night, blocking 32 of 33 shots on goal. Although the Avalanche were able to score their one and only goal on the PP, both the Predators and the Avalanche had the same amount of penalty chances. Here are the three Predators who sat in the box:
- Matt Halischuk – 2:53 2nd Period – Interference on Goalkeeper
- Francis Bouillon – 18:25 2nd Period – Hooking
- Patric Hornqvist – 0:15 3rd Period – Interference
- It was clear the Avalanche were not prepared for complete domination from the Predators Tuesday night, but were they more prepared for Nashville on Thursday night…?
Thursday in Nashville:
- Both Jack Hillen and Jerred Smithson were scratched again against Colorado, with Smithson’s injury still tying him down.
- Although the Predators dominated the Avalanche in Colorado, the Avalanche were more prepared when they arrived in Nashville, with Ryan O’Reilly scored unassisted at 6:09, putting Colorado on the board first.
- At 12:17, Gabriel Landeskog put the Avalanche up 2-0, sending the Predators into panic mode.
- In the 2nd period, David Legwand gave the Predators their first goal of the game at 11:02 with assistance from Matt Halischuk and Francis Bouillion.
- Sergei Kostitsyn tied the game for the Predators at 8:48 in the 3rd period, with assistance from Mike Fisher and Roman Josi. Neither team was able to score again, thus throwing the game into overtime.
- Thirty-four seconds into over time, David Legwand was able to slip one passed Colorado’s goalie, Jean-Sebastien Giguere to seal the game in the Predators favor.
- Although they dominated the game in Denver, the Predators did not out-shoot the Avalanche, where as they did during this game 35 to 29. Even though Pekka let a few more get passed him than during the first game, he was still able to block 27 of 29.
- The Predators also had six chances to score on the power play, but did not capitalize on any of them. The Avalanche were only given two chances, yet nor did they use them to their advantage (and they were given a double minor). Here are the two Preds that spent some unwanted time in the penalty box:
- David Legwand – 6:49 1st Period – Cross Checking
- Craig Smith – 16:17 1st Period – Hi-Sticking (double minor)
- Due to the snowy weather outside, the Predators were only 200 tickets short of another sellout, but Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers is sure to fix that issue.
For a team to collect all four available points on a back-t0-back series is pretty outstanding, even if one of them went into over time. The next time the Predators will see the Avalanche will be Thursday, March 8th. Hopefully, by that time, Shane O’Brien will be off the Injured Reserve (he was placed on it just days before the first meeting on Tuesday).
The Predators welcome the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at 7PM, then are off to New York to face the Islanders and the Rangers next week. The Predators will return to Nashville on Saturday, January 21st to face the Chicago Blackhawks.
(Photo credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)