Coming into Tuesday night’s game, the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche had combined for 18 goals in their last two games each other. This game, as with the others, did not lack goals. After what started out as a strong first period for the Predators, the young talent of the Colorado Avalanche tied the game late in the third, forcing the game to an overtime shootout and a Nashville loss.
In the loss, the Predators saw two goals each from Roman Josi and Matt Cullen. Below is a brief video from Roman Josi on his performance in the game.
The first period began with most of the control going to the Nashville Predators. The Predators started strong in terms of puck possession and opened the scoring early when Roman Josi ripped a shot from the point past goaltender Semyon Varlamov at 3:33. Assists on the goal went to Gabriel Bourque and Craig Smith.
Midway through the first, Nashville took the 2-0 lead with another goal from Roman Josi. Taking the pass from Calle Jarnkrok, Josi chipped the puck towards the net and it found its way past Varlamov at 9:49. The goal would be Josi’s 11th of the season. With that point, Calle Jarnkrok has earned a point in all three games with the Predators, all assists.
“He’s been really good,” said Matt Cullen on the play of Calle Jarnkrok. “I’m impressed with his game. He’s a patient, poised guy with the puck.”
Late in the first, the Avalanche got on the board at 19:06 when Gabriel Landeskog snuck one by goaltender Pekka Rinne right in front of the crease. The goal by Landeskog gave him 22 on the season. Landeskog’s goal was assisted by Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon.
In a period mostly dominated by the Predators, Nashville went into the first intermission leading on the scoreboard 2-1 and in shots, 13-3.
“We felt good about our game,” said Roman Josi on the mood in the locker room after the first period. “They scored and that kind of gave them momentum, but we responded well and played well in the second and still had a lot of chances.”
Early on in the second, the Predators were given their first power play opportunity when Jan Hejda interfered with Viktor Stalberg at 3:22. The Predators were unable to convert on the power play as Colorado defended well in their end by closing up passing and shooting lanes.
The momentum began to shift in the game when the Avalanche were able to tie the game at 8:41 of the second. In a defensive lapse, Paul Stastny centered a pass to Gabriel Landeskog, who then netted his second of the game and 23rd of the season.
Nashville then regained the lead late in the second period. Immediately following a defensive zone face off victory by Mike Fisher, Ryan Ellis found Matt Cullen streaking up the left side. Cullen whizzed by the defenders and fired the puck into the net, giving him eight for the season.
Going into the second intermission, Nashville had regained some of the momentum lost early on in the period by retaking the lead, 3-2. The Predators also continued their domination in shots, leading 22-12.
The beginning of the third period saw the Predators playing a more defensive style of hockey. They weren’t allowing Colorado to spend much time in the zone and in turn they generated a few chances themselves. With 13 minutes remaining in regulation, the Avalanche were creeping their back with shots, but still down on the scoreboard 3-2.
Following a questionable non-call of offside, Colorado tied the game at 12:25. After a mad scramble in front of the net, Cody McLeod picked up the loose puck and lifted it over Pekka Rinne. The goal would be McLeod’s fourth of the season.
The last five minutes of regulation turned out to be very exciting for the fans in attendance. At 15:17, Matt Cullen tallied his second of the night when he took a beautiful pass from Patric Hornqvist right in front of Varlamov and tipped it in.
Less than a minute following the Frosty goal, the Avalanche tied it up when Nick Holden notched his ninth of the season with a wrister from the face off dot to the right of Pekka Rinne.
“We can’t give up those late goals; it’s been a bit of a hindrance for us in the last little while here,” said head coach Barry Trotz on the team giving up leads. “Second period, I thought we responded after they got it tied up. They have lots of fighting power. We didn’t make strong plays when we had those leads.”
Nashville was given a chance to retake the lead and seal a victory when they were put on the power play at 17:49. In the corner to the right of Semyon Varlamov, Patric Hornqvist took a high stick to the face from Nick Holden. The Predators weren’t able to score again with the extra man and the game would head to overtime.
In overtime, both teams exchanged a few chances, but neither team was able to notch the game-winner. The only thing that remained was the shootout to see which team would receive the extra point.
The shootout had been a thorn in the side of the Predators all season and Tuesday night wasn’t any different. Nashville’s shooters were Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi. Only Jarnkrok beat Varlamov with a gorgeous deke to his back hand to flip it up and over.
“I was actually thinking about that move,” said Calle Jarnkrok on his shootout goal. “I missed three out of three so far before this one, so it was nice to put one in.”
For Colorado, Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog were the shooters with O’Reilly and Landeskog beating Rinne to seal the victory.
Below are comments from head coach Barry Trotz.