The Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche series is over and it was the result many expected. Nashville downed Colorado in six games to set up a much-anticipated showdown with the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.
This series was the only Western Conference series that went six games. The Predators took care of business and now face a stiffer challenge from the Jets.
We took a look back at how each of the three major storylines for the series shook out.
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Storylines
Happy to Be Here
Many could forgive if the Avs made a quick exit from the playoffs after getting in by the skin of their teeth. Every game the past two months for Colorado had playoff urgency to it. However, the Avalanche didn’t roll over for the President’s Trophy-winning Predators.
Colorado took the lead in three games and took the win in Game 3. The other games in series were not easy as Nashville won Games 2 and 4 by a single goal. Nashville proved it was the better team, but they had to fight for everything.
The Avalanche could have packed it in after Nick Bonino scored midway through the third period of Game 5. However, the young Avs showed a lot of heart and scraped out a victory to send the series back to Denver.
Nashville avoided embarrassment and routed Colorado in Game 6.
The Preds’ veterans came through when they needed them the most. Nashville overcame opening goals by Colorado two out of three times. Pekka Rinne asserted his dominance in between the pipes and their great defence stifled the young Avalanche forwards.
There was some worry Nashville would start to get worried at the potential of blowing a 3-1 series lead. However, the veterans calmed the room down and the Predators asserted their superiority in the final game.
Having veterans like Mike Fisher on call in case of injury or suspension is also a plus.
Things were bad for Colorado coming into the series, but it got much worse at the end of the series. The Avs were already without starting goalie Semyon Varlamov, but took a further injury hit when Jonathan Bernier did not play the final two games of the series.
Andrew Hammond filled in admirably in Game 5, but Nashville figured out “The Hamburglar” in Game 6. Hammond strung together solid performances with the Ottawa Senators in the 2014-15 season. However, the Preds’ top line of Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen showed their scoring touch.
Colorado was already in trouble without top defenseman Erik Johnson and Samuel Girard got banged up during the series. Most teams at full strength have a hard time dealing with Nashville, but Colorado’s task was made even tougher.
It took a little longer than expected, but the Predators proved why their one of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup. Great scoring, superior goaltending and solid defence were displayed by Nashville. Colorado fans should take heart that their team put up a strong test. The future looks bright in Denver and the building blocks for a winner are there.
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