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I’ll be honest, I thought this game would end just like all the others against Nashville, in Nashville.
A fluky early goal for the Preds (check). A bunch of bad refereeing in favor of the Predators (check). A goal by Filip Forsberg (check). Some kind of bungled third-period sequence that ultimately dooms the Avs.
The Avs actually won a regular-season game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday night, 3-2 at Bridgestone Arena. Tyson Jost scored the tie-breaking, third-period game-winner – not long after I tweeted “Avs second line MIA tonight.”
But seriously, it’s been a long time since we could say the Avalanche beat the Predators in Nashville. Eleven games, in fact. The Preds’ 11-game winning streak against the Avs was – previously – the longest active streak in the league. Of course, we did know what it was like to win in Nashville – or have we all forgotten The Hamburglar’s miracle Game 5 last spring already? But this was the first time in about three years that the Avs came out with a win in Smashville, prior to one playoff win.
Let’s get to the takeaways I had from the night:
- Well, let’s all get off Jared Bednar’s case for the night. His decision to scratch Vladislav Kamenev and Sheldon Dries in favor of Gabriel Bourque and Sven Andrighetto was widely panned by fans (and myself) earlier in the day. But while Bourque and Andrighetto posted goose eggs on the score sheet, they skated and competed and did fine in a road win. It’ll be interesting to see, though, what Bednar decides as his lineup for the Penguins’ game Wednesday night.
- The Avs are 12 for their last 24 on the power play. Fitty percent (no spelling error).
- The Avs are now No. 1 in the league on the power play.
- And the best part about the power-play game-winner tonight: The second unit got the goal. J.T. Compher, little slide pass to Jost up high on the right side, good hard, low shot that beat Pekka Rinne. The Avs didn’t have to just rely on the Three-Headed Monster and the goalie to win the game (although they certainly still had to depend on them a lot, let’s not kid ourselves). They got another meaningful contribution from the secondary guys up front. That’s why they’re winning consistently right now.
- Jost actually credited new Avs skills coach Shawn Allard following the game. When Jost was out with that concussion, he said he spent more time with Allard working on new shooting skills. We saw it on that game-winner. Jost went low with the shot, a slapper. Previously, he was wristing too many pucks on net, up high.
- Semyon Varlamov was very good in the third period. Colorado was outshot 38-25 overall, 20-7 in the third. I thought the Avs kept the play mostly to the perimeter, though.
- Two more goals for Nathan MacKinnon, two more assists for Mikko Rantanen. Did we tell you we’re selling a t-shirt with that line on it? Get it at a discount by clicking here.
- I liked how the Avs skated, but more important, how they worked. Nashville always keeps coming at you and can wear you down with their sheer tenacity. The Avs matched the work ethic tonight, if not succeeded it.
- That second MacK goal was straight up filth.
- While the Preds were without P.K. Subban, let’s not forget the Avs were without a top offensive defenseman too, Tyson Barrie. Not sure of Barrie’s status for Wednesday.
- The Avs are now both second in the division and second in the Western Conference, to Nashville.
- Here’s the heatmap: