Now that the list has shifted to Music City, the Colado Avalanche needed to keep up the pressure and look forward to ending the Nashville Predators season first. After a difficult second period, Avalanche did this to take Game 3 with a 7-3 scoreline and now lead 3-0.
It was a painful start to Colorado as Nashville decided to do better at their ice house and put pressure on the returning Avalanche. Despite this, Nico Sturm was everywhere on the prowl, creating an opportunity to find Colorado that ended. When the Predators’ Eeli Tolvanen took the penalty against Darren Helm, the Avalanche were able to increase their power and get a personal chance. With 41 seconds left in the game, Artturi Lehkonen fired from Toews to take Avalanche off the board at 10:45.
The second strong game led to Nathan MacKinnon scoring while Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar took the assist. It’s worth noting that Nathan Mackinnon has one goal in all three of these games. Speaking of the players who scored in each game, 90 seconds later the Predators responded with a goal from Matt Duchene. The Avalanche seem to be finishing the first good season when Darcy Kuemper took the stick in front of him. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Kuemper had to give up ice, instead of Pavel Francousz who managed to save for a long time.
The second half began with a shocking start for Avalanche with Eeli Tolvanen scoring five minutes into the evening. When Colorado found their way, they began to force Nashville player Connor Ingram, forcing him to save several times in a row. Gabriel Landeskog picked up and scored again, bringing the Avalanche forward. Two minutes later Nashville backed up with a goal from Roman Josi. It looked like this time it would be explained by the leading hand change between the two teams as Gabriel Landeskog scored his second goal to take the lead from Nashville.
Unfortunately for Colorado this was not the case, Nazem Kadri scored an unbeaten goal at 14:41, giving Avalanche a two-goal lead. Predators were feeling pressured at this point. Disappointed, Filip Forsberg took the penalty kick for Logan O’Connor’s high-profile hit that saw many players take part. There was a stick everywhere on the ice and the Cale Makar helmet was able to loosen.
The third half was quiet for both teams while the tug-of-war seemed to have dropped. Colorado played a steady game to stay in the lead, not needing to push too hard. Once again half the time saw another change. Devon Toews, who was given the first goal before being named Lehkonen, fired just as the Predators were changing. Makar and Landeskog took the assistants. With Nashville’s empty net, Valeri Nichushkin scored Colorado’s fourth goal of the season, giving the Avalanche a 7-3 victory over the Predators.
We knew this could be a tough game. Nashville needed to win and as a result their initial strength of each season was unsurprising. The Avalanche have also shown why they are one of the winners, if not the best team in the NHL, changing the loss of their goalie and increasing speed when needed. Pavel Francous should be thankful for coming at the end of the first season to keep Avalanche in the game.
Nashville no doubt feels stressed. The next game is tough for them; If he succeeds, he will come out of the abyss. Colorado is in a very good position, having a chance to get a place in the second round and sweep the Predators with a fourth consecutive win. I hope the courage to add Nashville fights to their place, and we would not be surprised to see more penalties and bigger hits. Colorado’s strong performance was excellent, going four out of five. If they continue Nashville will have a hard time stopping them from scoring and they will have to work hard not to move between hard work and being called out to receive more penalties.
Darcy Kuemper has been tested and has no tackle that is a relief, it is unlikely that this will be a long-term injury, so we can see him back in the fourth game in a row. If not, we are confident that Francouz will be ready.
Colorado is preparing for another game in Nashville on Monday at 7:30 pm MT.