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Uninspired Third Leads To Another Road Loss For Avalanche

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It’s never a good thing when your game deteriorates as the night goes on, and that’s exactly what happened to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday evening.

The first was pretty good, the second was…okay. The third? Uninspired.

Nashville, who entered the game red-hot having won seven straight games, made it eight straight against the Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena, walking away with a 5-1 victory. The Avalanche were completely dominated in the third period, as they were outscored 3-0 and outshot 17-7 when they should have been pushing hard to tie the game up.

Nathan MacKinnon scored the only goal of the night for Colorado, and Alexandar Georgiev made 30 saves in net.

First Period

The opening period felt like a completely different game compared to what we got for periods two and three. Both teams traded chances offensively during a pretty entertaining twenty minutes.

It took 15 minutes for either team to break through, but it was the home team that found the back of the net first. The Predators worked a nice give-and-go off the rush, and Ross Colton failed to cover Cody Glass in the slot, who beat Georgiev down low for his third goal of the season. That was the beginning of a memorable night for the young forward.

Just a few minutes later, the Avalanche responded, with exactly who you’d expect tying the game up at one. Devon Toews made a smart play in the defensive zone, catching a floating puck out of the air and starting the breakout. He sprung Rantanen and MacKinnon on a two-on-one, and Rantanen immediately gave the puck to the superstar center to carry into the zone. MacKinnon looked off Rantanen, and sent a perfect shot over Saros’ glove, tying the game up before the end of the period.

Second Period

Whatever Avalanche squad showed up for the first period didn’t bother to show up the rest of the night. Colorado generated 18 shot attempts in period one alone. In periods two and three, they combined for just 21. Not a recipe for success on the road.

To their credit, they defended alright in period two, but a mistake by their top defenseman gave the Predators the lead.

Cale Makar had a pretty easy breakout, but stumbled behind this own net and lost the puck. That led to the Predators taking possession, and eventually the puck came to Tommy Novak behind the net. No one decided to cover Glass in front of the net, and Novak hit him with a perfect pass. Glass one-timed it past Georgiev, giving the Predators the lead.

A lead they would never surrender.

Third Period

The third period was not close. You typically expect the team trailing to come out pushing the play, but that’s not what happened. The Predators stepped on Colorado’s throat, and the Avalanche had no response. The few times they did get the puck, their decision making was extremely poor. Nashville outshot them 17-7 in a final period that wasn’t all that close.

They managed to hold on until about halfway through the period, when Devon Toews got his stick up a little too high, giving the Predators a powerplay. A Roman Josi shot missed the net, but bounced right off the boards to Ryan O’Reilly, who was able to put the puck into an empty. net.

The closest Colorado got to getting on the board was a Chris Wagner shot that went off the cross-bar, but that says a lot about how the period went. Colorado’s top guns were non-existent, and the Predators suffocated them.

Jack Johnson took a hooking penalty after turning the puck over in the defensive zone, and that penalty pretty much sealed the game. Juuse Saros caught the Avalanche on a change, sending it up the ice to Tommy Novak. The Predators forward danced around Bowen Byram and fired a shot over Georgiev’s glove, making it 4-1.

Glass completed the hat trick with the net empty, and Colorado moved to 14-14-5 on the road with the 5-1 loss.

The Avalanche return home for three straight games, and will take on the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night. Could a potential Valeri Nichushkin return spark them?

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