NHL Hockey

Final 1 2 3 Tot
Colorado 0 0 2 2
Nashville 0 0 1 1
Predators lead 3-2
Three Stars
1: Sven Andrighetto, Col (1G)
2: Nick Bonino, Nsh (1G)
3: Pekka Rinne, Nsh (25 Saves)
6:30 PM PT7:30 PM MT8:30 PM CT9:30 PM ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST5:30 UAE (+1)21:30 ETNaN:� BRT, April 20, 2018
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee  Attendance: 17,504

Avalanche down to third goalie against Predators

Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators

  1. The Predators held off the Avalanche, 3-2, on Wednesday night at Pepsi Center, taking a 3-1 lead in the series. Nashville has been up 3-1 in a best-of-seven twice prior, winning both of the matchups (beat Red Wings in five games in 2012 and defeated Blues in six games last season).
  2. The Avalanche (Nordiques) have lost three of the first four games in a best-of-seven three times in franchise history, winning Game 5 in each of those matchups, but eventually losing all three of those series in six games (1995 vs. Rangers, 1997 vs. Red Wings and 2004 vs. Sharks).
  3. Including the first two games of this series, the Preds have defeated the Avs seven straight times at Bridgestone Arena by a combined score of 31-17. Nashville has potted exactly five goals in each of its last three home games vs. Colorado (dating to the regular season).
  4. Gabriel Landeskog lit the lamp once Wednesday night, and has now potted a goal in three straight games overall. Landeskog, who leads the Avs with six points (3g, 3a) in this series, has 13 career markers vs. the Predators -- his second most against any NHL club (including postseason).
  5. Including a goal in Game 4, Colton Sissons has tallied at least one point in each of the first four games of this matchup (3g, 2a in series). Sissons has lit the lamp seven times in eight skates against Colorado overall this season (has just five goals against all other opponents in 2017-18).
  6. Nashville has won 57.4 percent of its faceoffs with Colorado in the first four games of this matchup -- currently the second-best number in any single series in Preds' franchise history. The Predators won 59.5 percent of their draws in four regular-season games vs. the Avs this year.

Give the Colorado Avalanche credit for putting up a gallant fight in their first-round Western Conference series with the Nashville Predators. In fact, Colorado came within a post of forcing overtime in Game 4 and possibly evening the series Wednesday night.

But Colin Wilson's point-blank chance clanged off the right post, enabling Nashville to leave Denver with a 3-2 victory and a 3-1 series lead. The Predators can eliminate the Avalanche on Friday night with a win in Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

All the odds appear to be stacked against Colorado. Nashville is 15-2 in its last 17 playoff home games, including 5-2 and 5-4 wins in Games 1 and 2 of this series. The Predators are averaging four goals per game and have been better on special teams.

What's more, the Avalanche are down to their third goalie for this elimination game. Starter Semyon Varlamov is out for the series with a lower-body injury and backup Jonathan Bernier, who started the first four games, departed after two periods Wednesday night with his own lower-body injury.

That means Andrew Hammond, who made a name for himself three seasons ago by going 20-1-2 for Ottawa and helping it steal an Eastern Conference playoff berth, will get the call for Game 5. Hammond stopped all eight shots he faced in the third period Wednesday night.

"Any chance you get in the net, you want to take advantage of it," Hammond said. "So I tried doing that tonight, and just unfortunate that we weren't able to get the win there at the end."

Colorado can blame its inability to convert second-period power plays and the work of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. The Avalanche whiffed on a lengthy five-on-three early in the period - they converted a second one early in the third period to jump-start its comeback - and also missed another man-advantage later in the second.

The Predators scored immediately after killing both penalties, and also got a return to form from Rinne. After being hooked from Game 3 when he ceded four goals on 15 shots, Rinne came up with 31 stops in Game 4, looking more like the goalie favored to take home the first Vezina Trophy of his career.

"I think we did a really good job at the end," Rinne said. "At the end of the day, only a couple of pucks got all the way to me. We blocked a few and they missed the net a couple of times, so we killed the clock pretty good."

While Colorado will be without Bernier in Game 5, Nashville will play without forward Ryan Hartman. He was suspended one game for an illegal check to the head of center Carl Soderberg in the third period of Game 4.

With Hartman out, veteran Scott Hartnell could draw into the lineup for his first action of the series. Regardless, the Predators should be motivated to close the series out and rest for a potential second-round matchup with the Winnipeg Jets.

"I't's going to be another battle Friday night," Nashville captain Roman Josi said. "They are a great team over there and every game is tough."

Updated April 19, 2018

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