Avs make prey of Predators, focused on staying tight into round 2
It only took the Colorado Avalanche seven days to get out of the first round, finishing off a sweep of the Nashville Predators on Monday.
There was a juncture late in Game 4 where the Predators actually took the lead in a game. That lasted for all of four minutes and 57 seconds. It was the only time in the series’ 248 minutes and 30 seconds that Nashville led.
Not only is that stat proof of Colorado’s dominance in the series, but it shows their resolve. They quickly bounced back from having to do it in game 5 to taking care of business right there and then.
“Adversity is never a bad thing if you’re overcoming it and finding ways to keep playing your game,” Jared Bednar said. “You’re not going to win them all, but you want to make sure your team is fighting hard and pushing themselves to overcome whatever obstacles are in their way. We had a few in this series and guys continued to play and play well, so I liked that’s a positive sign for our team.”
Nashville scored towards the end of the second period, tying the game at 2-2. A few minutes into the third, the Predators took their one and only lead of the series.
Cale Makar said going down 3-2 was a kick in the butt.
“Any time you get a chance to end the team season you take it and run,” he said. “There were a lot of ups-and-downs, but we wanted this one, and I think just the resilience, in general, showed from our group.”
Makar announced himself as one of the league’s best players in the series. Tallying 10 points in four games, he became the first defenseman in NHL history to record 10 points in the first four games of a playoff run.
Nathan MacKinnon, who scored five goals, said Makar could go down as the greatest d-man of all-time. “He’s the best player in the league right now,” MacKinnon said.
Makar’s slick pass through traffic assisted Valeri Nichushkin’s series-clinching goal.
“This is step one; the next one is step two,” Makar said. ”We know we have the group of guys to make a run, but we have to take it game by game.”
Bednar defined the Avs’ play as consistent and assertive.
“Really good focus throughout the series,” he said. “This was our toughest game for sure. We made a few mistakes that they capitalized on, but good resilience from our group to stick with it… all around, a positive experience for our guys.”
The earliest Avs could play again is Monday; they’ll play the Minnesota vs. St. Louis winner, which is tied at two games apiece.
“The big thing is now we can take a breath, get a couple of days off for guys,” Bednar said. “We’ll still get some really good practice time before we get ready for our next opponent.
The Avs collapsed last year in the playoffs but they feel deeper and more experienced this season. The Avalanche that is this Avalanche team is just missing starting goalie Darcy Kuemper, who gets a week off to rest his eye injury.
“We get some rest; I’m going to play some video games, hang out and see my dogs,” MacKinnon said. “We’re where we want it to be but we have to make sure that we can stay tight throughout this little break.”