Cleat Geeks

The Burgundy Breakdown (Central Semifinals Game 2)

Welcome to the latest Stanley Cup Playoff edition of The Burgundy Breakdown, which recaps Game Two of the Colorado Avalanche’s series against the Nashville Predators.

The Avs were looking to rebound after their 5-2 loss in Game One on Thursday. Saturday’s game was one of two early games that took place, and like Game One, the Avalanche scored on their first shot. This time, it was Gabriel Bourque, a former Predator, who shot and scored past Rinne, with the assists coming from JT Compher and Colin Wilson. Nashville ended the first period on the power play, but the first 20 minutes also ended with the Avalanche up 1-0. However, Kevin Fiala scored just 61 seconds into the second period, and with three seconds left on Nashville’s power play, tying the score. Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen followed with breakaway goals later in the period, but Nathan MacKinnon’s third career playoff goal cut Colorado’s deficit in half.

In a chaotic third period, Austin Watson scored while the Avs were avoiding being caught with too many men, giving Nashville their two goal lead back. Back-to-back Predator penalties gave the Avalanche a two man advantage, and on the 5-on-3, MacKinnon’s shot bounced off captain Gabriel Landeskog and went past Rinne, making it 4-3. The remainder of the power play time was killed off, and the Avalanche later pulled Jonathan Bernier for the extra attacker. Nashville’s clearing attempt saw the puck bounce off the wall and in front of the net, and it was Ryan Hartman who beat the Avalanche to the punch and put it in the empty net. Alexander Kerfoot kept things alive for Colorado with his first career playoff goal with 35.8 seconds left, but the Avs’ inability to get the puck out of their own zone sealed the team’s fate, handing them a 5-4 loss.

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In all, the Avalanche played better in Game Two than they did in Game One, including a strong third period. In two games, the Avs have scored six goals on Pekka Rinne, but their 2-0 hole is mainly due to mental mistakes, mainly giving up breakaways and committing too many penalties. The team’s depth is showing, as it’s not just the main players providing offense. Nathan MacKinnon has three points already, while Nikita Zadorov, Gabriel Landeskog, and Tyson Barrie have two points each. If the Avalanche continue this offense onslaught on home ice, where they’ve won 28 games, and keep the mental mistakes to a minimum, this could be a real series.

Game Three takes place Monday evening in Denver.

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