Following a disappointing performance in game 3, the Nashville Predators rebounded in game 4 for a 3-2 victory. Now, with a 3-1 lead firmly in grasp, the series will shift back to Nashville for game 5.
The Preds have had a difficult time during the first period through the first three games. However, last night they looked like a completely different team. They were firing on all cylinders and peppering Colorado goalie, Jonathan Bernier, early. Despite everything, Bernier was able to hold on and outlast the early outburst from Nashville.
Just when it seemed like the Avalanche were beginning to find their footing, Filip Forsberg did what he does best. For the second time in this series Forsberg scored an insane, highlight reel goal.
— NHL (@NHL) April 19, 2018
Forsberg’s tally put the Preds on the board first for the first time this series. They didn’t stop there, though. The Preds continued their strong play into the second period and added two more goals. The first coming from Colton Sissons seven minutes in. Sissons took a feed in the slot from Forsberg and rifled it past Bernier.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 19, 2018
The second goal of the period was scored by Craig Smith. Smith was serving a penalty and upon his release found a lose puck which led to a 2 on 1 break. With Mike Fisher to his right, Smith elected to shoot and sniped another past Bernier.
— NHL (@NHL) April 19, 2018
As good as Nashville played through the first two periods it almost all came crashing down in the third. The Predators are typically a really good third period team, but this might have been the most disappointing third period performance all season. The combination of poor play and poor officiating led to a valiant comeback effort from Colorado.
Shortly into the third period the Avalanche were gifted a full two minute 5-on-3 power play. Then, 30 seconds into the two-man advantage Gabriel Landeskog finally got the Avalanche on the board. Not too long after their first goal, Colorado was able to answer once again. This time it was by Alexander Kerfoot. This goal came with quite a bit of controversy, however.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) April 19, 2018
After reviewing the video, it appeared as if an Avalanche player ran into Rinne prior to the puck entering the net. While the puck was not completely secured, it was resting on top of Rinne’s pad. The interference of Rinne led to the puck becoming free and Kerfoot stuffed it into the net. This seemed like obvious goaltender interference, but apparently the replay officials in Toronto didn’t think so. They deemed the replay inconclusive and allowed the goal to stand.
The Avalanche pressured for the remainder of the period, but were never able to get another one past Rinne. In fact, Nashville did an exceptional job killing off the final four minutes or so of the game. Colorado was never really able to sustain offense in their zone and the closest they came was when former Predator Colin Wilson hit a post with two minutes left.
The Preds did what they had to do and picked up a win on the road. It wasn’t the prettiest down the stretch, but regardless, Nashville got the job done. Now, Nashville will host game 5 at Bridgestone Arena tomorrow night with a chance to close out the series. A win will secure their spot in the Western Conference Semifinals in a matchup against the winner of Winnipeg and Minnesota.
Puck drop on Friday will be at 9:30 PM ET.