The Colorado Avalanche storybook season has come to an end.
On Sunday evening at Pepsi Center, the Nashville Predators closed out the first-round series with Colorado in an anticlimactic Game Six by the final score of 5-0.
“It was a good series,” Nathan MacKinnon said following the loss. “Tonight was tough. I felt like we came out with some jump and then they got two quick goals and it deflated us.”
The Predators controlled the game from the start, causing their usual havoc on the forecheck and preventing the Avalanche from creating any sort of offensive threat in the first period.
The sellout crowd’s energy was quickly sucked out of the building when Nashville was first to get on the scoreboard at 7:02 into the game.
A defensive lapse in Colorado’s zone led to a wide open Mattias Ekholm receiving a pass at the point and walking in to rip a powerful slap shot. Avs goaltender Andrew Hammond was in perfect position to save the shot, however, was screened as the shot came, preventing Hammond from seeing the puck.
Soon after, a broken play around the net led Nashville’s Auston Watson to clean up the loose puck, tapping it into a wide-open net. Colton Sissons and Nick Bonino recorded assists on both Predators goals.
“We got in a hole 2-0 right after five minutes or whatever that was,” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog said. “They are too good of a team to let you back into the game. It’s not the way we want to finish, that’s for sure. Nonetheless, I am proud of this group.”
The Avalanche headed to the dressing room for the first intermission down 2-0, losing in the shot count 14-7 and with seemingly no momentum on their side.
With 38 seconds into the second period, Nashville scored its third goal of the game when Filip Forsberg scored on a two-on-one, beating Hammond under his glove hand for his fourth goal of the playoffs.
“It was the third goal that kinda deflated us,” Andrew Hammond said. “If you look back at the last few games, when we got down we’ve responded pretty quick. They kept pushing in the second and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t get our legs under us.”
Halfway through the second period, and therefore the game, Nashville scored its fourth goal making their series win all but official. Nick Bonino scored the goal that trickled past Hammond, giving Bonino his third point of the evening.
“He’s a good player,” Hammond said on Bonino’s three-point night. “You see his credentials over the years, he’s won Stanley Cups and he’s been in the finals. He’s just a guy that knows how to bring his best game and not give teams other teams a chance.”
Despite Hammond’s disappointment, he was still gracious for the response from Avs fans.
“It was great that they embraced me the way they did, it was not something they had to do by any means,” Hammond stated. “It makes you feel good and it makes you feel loved. My whole time here the fans have been really great and I’ve been really impressed.”
The Avalanche almost got on the board before the end of the second period, but the goal was immediately waved off due to goaltender interference by Carl Soderberg. Further reviews would confirm the call on the ice.
The third period was no different from the rest of the game as Viktor Arvidsson scored the fifth goal for Nashville, continuing Colorado’s depressing evening.
The Nashville Predators move on to play the Winnipeg Jets in the second round as Colorado’s offseason is officially underway.