The Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche faced off on Thursday night with uncommon lineups due to COVID protocol. The Avalanche played with 16 skaters and had former Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) hockey goaltender suited up as the emergency backup goaltender. The Predators skated 18 and the Milwaukee Admirals coaches were behind the bench en route to a 5-2 victory.
Nashville played without seven players and their entire coaching staff after being added to the NHL’s COVID Protocol List. They were also without Matt Duchene, who participated in morning skate, while out with injury. According to Elliotte Friedman, the Avalanche voted to play tonight after being given the option to play or not following Makar and Kuemper being added to the COVID protocol list just before game time.
Captain Roman Josi addressed the media before the game and was asked if he believed they should be playing tonight under the given circumstances. Josi said, “That’s not my decision. We’re preparing to play a game and preparing to win a hockey game. Everything else is kind of out of our control. Obviously, it’s not a very good situation right now around the league. It’s not just our team. It’s a lot of other teams. As a player, there’s not much that you can do.”
Filip Forsberg notched two goals and an assist as they ended Colorado’s winning streak while continuing their own. Yakov Trenin worked hard to successfully draw penalties to gain the man advantage. However, even after 5-on-3 play, they still could not put it past Francouz. However, Tanner Jeannot was able to score on the powerplay with the Predators second goal of the game.
Rantanen found a powerplay goal while Nichushkin scored just as time expired for their man advantage. After Nichushkin’s goal, Forsberg answered with his second of the night with a powerplay goal. He extended his own franchise record with his 27th career multi-goal game, according to @PredsonBally on Twitter. His 13th goal of the season is the most by any player in team history through his first 20 games of a season, according to NHL Public Relations.
Captain Roman Josi scored the frosty goal and his 10th of the season. With just 1:08 left, the empty net goal was awarded to Mattias Ekholm, for a final score of 5-2. Colton Sissons showed great defensive efforts to interrupt the Avalanche’s offense. He ended the game with one assist and 16:12 on the ice.
Admirals coach Karl Taylor led the Predators to a victory, even though he thought he was only coming to Nashville to help Dan Lambert with the powerplay. “It’s been a pretty exciting 24 hours. I can’t say enough about the players about how they received us as normal coaches. They didn’t let anything become a distraction,” Taylor said following the victory. He said it was hard on the Predators coaching staff to not be here and involved, but they helped and assisted while allowing us to do what we do in Milwaukee.
The Nashville Predators head to Chicago where they will play on Friday night. Taylor said they plan to move forward and they will work like this is their team with a lot of help from the current staff in order to be prepared.