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  1. Thanks for reading! Stop by www.belowthegoalline.com for exclusive playoff analysis. NHL players with existing contracts cannot sign a contract extension until the reach the final year of their current contract. Each year, several players are inked to contract extensions when they are eligible on July 1st of the last year of their contract. While the opening day of free agency will bring a lot of excitement for teams acquiring a new player or two, July 1st can also be a great day for players, as they look to lock up their long-term future with a contract extension with their current team. Below the Goal Line took a look at the players you should look out for this summer who fit this criteria: Drew Doughty - Doughty is a legitimate #1 defenseman with the Los Angeles Kings. At 28 years of age, Doughty has won two Olympic Gold Medals and two Stanley Cup championships. Doughty has skated in the last four All-Star Games, and continues to be a top defender in the NHL. Drew Doughty is enters 2018-19 with a $7,650,000 salary, and a cap hit of $7,000,000. The market for top defensemen in the NHL is going up, and we can expect Doughty to command around $10 million next summer in free agency. The Kings would be wise to lock up one of their best players this year before that happens. Tyler Seguin - The top center the Dallas Stars, Tyler Seguin will be following along with the John Tavares free agency this summer. Seguin and Tavares are very similar offensive catalysts, and both players will be looking at similar contracts in the near future. Tavares has 621 points in 669 career games, while the younger Seguin has 505 in 590 games. Seguin will make $6,500,000 next season, but that will likely go up after the 2018-19 campaign, which is his last under contract with Dallas. If John Tavares picks up around $10.5 million this summer, expect Tyler Seguin to find a salary around that same value when it's his turn to hit free agency in the summer of 2019. Seguin could be a candidate for an early extension this summer, but likely will wait until Tavares sets the bar. Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski - A lot will probably change this summer for the San Jose Sharks, who will be contenders in the John Tavares sweepstakes, but next summer's free agent group will be a good one to watch. Logan Couture and captain Joe Pavelski will hit the market in 2019 if they don't re-sign with San Jose early. Both players are coming off 6 year, $36 million contracts, and could re-sign this summer if desired. Couture will be looking for a pay increase, likely into the $8 million range. He is a talented two-way center who matches up against the opposing team's top players every night. Pavelski, on the other hand, will be 34 to start the 2018-19 season, but likely has another two seasons left after his current contract expires. While you cannot expect him to be a huge offensive weapon he has been in his career (eight straight season above 20 goals, on including the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13), he continues to be an effective player, and should be looked at as a good middle-six player going forward. Artemi Panarin - The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Panarin in the summer of 2017, and will hope to extend him in the summer of 2018 after a 82 point season. Panarin, who makes $6 million dollar a season on his current contract, is the best offensive player in the Blue Jackets' organization, and will be looked upon for continued offensive down the road. Panarin will almost certainly cross the $7 million threshold, but could command $8.5 million of more. Nikita Kucherov - The Tampa Bay Lightning forward led the NHL in points for most of this season, but ultimately finished third with 100 points. He is just 24-years-old at the moment, but he will be looking for a new contract after the 2018-19 campaign. Kucherov will certainly earn a contract similar to, or greater than, the contract of team captain and linemate Steven Stamkos, who has an average salary of $8.5 million. Missed the cut: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would be welcome back to the Vegas Golden Knights, but at 34, he might not be in the long-term plans for the organization. They will likely wait to see how Vegas plays next season after a successful first year in 2017-18. The same can be said about Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, who might be able to play at a high level after his current contract runs out next season. He is 35 at the moment. Both Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene are good players for the Ottawa Senators, but talk about a rebuild in Ottawa might scare the two from re-signing this summer, or even at all.
  2. Here's how I see it: Winnipeg Nashville Mark Scheifele > Ryan Johansen Patrik Laine > Viktor Arvidsson Nikolaj Ehlers < Filip Forsberg Blake Wheeler > whoever you think is the 4th best forward for the Preds Bryan Little > Kyle Turris Jets depth << Nashville depth Nashville probably has a better chance in the playoffs with a deeper team. The third line for Nashville might be the best in the playoffs. Dustin Byfuglien = PK Subban (they bring different things to the table, but they are still both really good Jacob Trouba < Roman Josi Josh Morissey < Ryan Ellis Tyler Myers > Mattias Ekholm For me, Nashville probably has the better defensive group. Connor Hellybuyck = Pekka Rinne Goaltending is a wash. I don't know how you can argue otherwise. For me, this all comes down to goaltending. The top forwards of the Jets are better, but the strength of the Preds is their blueline and depth. If Pekka Rinne can show up in Game 2, there's not reason why they can't even the series.
  3. Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out www.belowthegoalline.com later today for an exclusive look at the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tonight marks the end of the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Check out the entire first round here. Toronto Maple Leafs @ Boston Bruins In the only first round series to go the full seven games, the Boston Bruins will hope their home will secure them a ticket to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2. First, they must dispatch their first round opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have climbed back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7 in Boston. If you like scoring, this game was for you. This game featured 11 goals, including just one empty netter, one shorthanded goal, and two powerplay goals. Both goalies combines for 49 saves on 59 shots. That results in a .831 save percentage in this game. Maple Leaf Patrick Marleau scored 2:05 into the game when he deflected a shot from the point past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask on the powerplay. The Bruins would come back with a powerplay goal of their own at 4:47 when Jake DeBrusk deflected a shot past the Toronto goalie, Frederik Andersen. Marleau would score his second of the game at 6:12. This goal was a quick flick of the wrist from the right faceoff circle. The second goal from Toronto came after the Bruins could not get the puck out of their own zone, and it ended up in the back of their net. Danton Heinen and Patrice Bergeron would score for the Bruins in the opening period to give them a 3-2 lead. Bergeron's goal was a nifty play from Kevan Miller, who purposefully shot the puck wide of the net, so it would find Bergeron alone on the other side of the net for the easy tap in. The second period belonged to the Maple Leafs. Rookie Travis Dermott scored his first career playoff goal, and Kasperi scored this filthy shorthanded goal to give Toronto the 4-3 lead heading into the final period. Tory Krug scored a booming slap shot from the left faceoff circle at 1:10 of the third period to tie the game. It was that goal that seemed to open the flood gate for the Bruins, who would score three more times in the period. Jake DeBrusk picked up his second goal of the game, and his fifth of the series at 5:25. DeBrusk powers down the right side of the ice when the teams were skating 4-on-4. He fooled Frederik Andersen with a quick wrist shot that went through Andersen's legs for the 5-4 lead. That goal would end up being the game winner, as the Bruins would add two more in the period for the 7-4 win. This sets up a Boston Bruins/Tampa Bay Lightning match-up in the second round. For Toronto, this marks the second straight exit in the first round. The meltdown in the third period would lead me to believe they need more help in their defensive zone, but I think Andersen could have been sharper in this game. Find out more about the second round of the playoffs on the preview coming up later today by Below the Goal Line. Thanks for reading!
  4. @TropicalFruitGirl26 Agreed. This should be good. Just like you said people under estimate the Preds forward group, people also don’t respect the Jets defensive Corp as much as they should.
  5. Jets in 6. The looked better overall in the first round, and the goaltending is a wash. The Preds probably have a deeper roster, but the Jets have the more talented top guys (Ehlers, Laine, Scheifele) at forward. I say Ehlers has 10 points in 6 games, including the series-clinching goal.
  6. I am going to say Capitals in 6. Here's why this year will be different: The Capitals are actually playing decent hockey in the playoffs, and Braden Holtby is playing well. The Penguins looked vulerable in the first series against the Flyers, and I think they will have a harder time with Washington then in past years. Ovechkin and Backstrom have come to play this year. They seem like completely different players than the last two postseason, maybe realizing they need to find another gear to take this team on a run. Time will tell me how wrong I am, but here's to hoping.
  7. The first round of the NHL Playoffs is almost over! Be sure to check out the complete NHL Playoff race here. Boston Bruins @ Toronto Maple Leafs After a strong regular season, and a quick start to this series, the Boston Bruins had another opportunity to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight in Game 6. Holing a 3-2 series lead, Boston needed just a single victory to advance to the second round to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. Toronto, however, has shown signs that they do not want to go home for the summer just yet. The Maple Leafs pulled out the victory in Game 5 on Saturday to stay alive. They were down 3-1 in the series at that point. Once again, Frederik Andersen would be key for the Maple Leafs to remain in the postseason mix. The Toronto goalie, who stats were inflated by a 5-1 and 7-3 loss in the first two games, has held the high-flying Boston Bruins offense to just nine goals in the last four games of this series. If you have been following along, you would know that nine goals over Games 3-6 would mean that Andersen only allowed a single goal Monday night in Toronto. Andersen stopped 32 of 33 shots to defeat the Bruins and force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night. After a scoreless first period, it was the Bruins who found their lone goal. Jake Debrusk picked up his third goal of the playoffs. After David Krejci would the offensive faceoff, DeBrusk ripped home a shot past Andersen, who never saw the shot from the top of the faceoff circle. That goal was at 1:02 of the second period, but Toronto would come roaring back very soon after. William Nylander picked up his first of the series just 35 seconds later. Nylander sneaks in to the right of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, and is all alone when a rebound pops out to him for a quick shot. Mitch Marner picked up his second of the series at 13:25 of that middle period. The goal, that would stand up as the game winner, came after a shot from the point was deflected and slowed down in front of the net. The speed Marner grabs the puck from Bruins forward Brad Marchand, and backhands a puck over Rask for the 2-1 lead. The Bruins still have life in this series, but there was a real sense of momentum shift in this game. The Maple Leafs might be the favorites early in Game 7 simply because they have faced two elimination games already, and have played strong enough hockey to win both of those games. Be sure to check back at Below the Goal Line for coverage of Game 7 on Wednesday! Follow us on Twitter (@belowthegoaline) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/belowthegoalline) for up to the minute updates. Washington Capitals @ Columbus Blue Jackets The Washington Capitals traveled back to Columbus after winning Game 5 on Saturday night. With the Game 5 win, the Capitals held a 3-2 series lead over the Blue Jackets. A win tonight would eliminate Columbus, and send the Capitals on to the second round, where they would meet the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third consecutive season. Washington got off to a good start in this game. Dmitry Orlov would open the scoring in the first period with a big slap shot from the point at 12:12. The Capitals definitely had the energy early in this game, which surprised a lot of people, considering the Blue Jackets didn't seem to get off the plane in Game 5. But Columbus responded in the second period, pumping 14 shots on goaltender Braden Holtby. One of those 14 shots, quick snap of the puck by captain Nick Foligno, beat Holtby to tie the game in the middle frame. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin would respond, however. Critics have been all over Ovechkin for apparently not showing up when his team needed him the most (something I never understood, considering the guy has 51 goals and 98 points in 103 playoff games), but he came to play in the second period of Game 6. Ovechkin scored his fourth of the series at 12:50. The backhand shot from in close to the net beat a sliding Columbus goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, for the 2-1 lead. Ovechkin was not done there, and would pick up his second goal of the period at 18:23. The one was a typical one-time slapper from the left faceoff circle that just overpowered Bobrovsky for the 3-1 lead. The third period featured the most goal scoring in this game. Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois would cut the lead to 3-2 just 2:25 in, but Washington's Devante Smith-Pelly and Chandler Stephenson scored at 3:56 and 5:30 to give the Capitals a 5-2 lead. Columbus captain Nick Foligno picked up his second goal of the game at 8:22 to cut the lead to 5-3, but that would be as close as the Blue Jackets would get in this game. After an empty net goal, the Washington Capitals picked up the 6-3 win, and the 4-2 series win. With the series victory, the Washington Capitals set up another date with the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 2. While they haven't been able to take down the Penguins in the past two postseason, this year presents another opportunity to defeat their arch-rivals for the right to move on to the Conference Finals. Stay tuned to Below the Goal Line for a preview of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, coming your way as soon as the Toronto-Boston series concludes.
  8. Right now, I see them beating the Predators in the second round. Nashville isn't getting as good of goaltending, and is struggling with the speed of Colorado. Winnipeg has similar (or more) speed, and should cause them fits.
  9. Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to BTGL via email, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for continued off-season coverage of the NHL and other hockey leagues. Visit www.belowthegoalline.com for more information. Thirteen NHL teams are still playing in the playoffs for the right to hoist the Stanley Cup. This means that 18 teams have already moved into their off-season process, which will include the NHL Entry Draft and free agency. Several top story lines have emerged already this "summer" for some of these clubs already in off-season mode. John Tavares Much has been made about the Islanders captain John Tavares as he approaches unrestricted free agency on July 1st of this season. I wrote about Tavares late in the season, but the story keeps growing. The New York Islanders would obviously love to keep their captain and top offensive weapon. Tavares had 37 goals and 47 assists for 84 points this past season. The 27-year-old has 621 points in 669 career NHL games, and is one of the biggest free agents to possibly hit the open market in a long time. A couple of season ago the Tampa Bay Lightning were in a similar position with captain Steven Stamkos, but he ultimately ended up signing a contract with the Lightning before he even hit free agency. That does not likely appear to be the case with John Tavares and the Islanders, and the team missed the postseason again this season. The Islanders, as documented in my previous piece, struggle to play defense. They can score tons of goals, but simply cannot keep the puck out of their own net. If Tavares wants a chance to win a championship, the Islanders don't appear to be the team to be on. Teams like the Montreal Canadiens or San Jose Sharks make sense as teams who are closer to a Stanley Cup. San Jose will likely not bring back superstar Joe Thornton, and Tavares could be a natural replacement. The Sharks are still in the postseason, and have a strong group of young forwards, a good corp of defensemen, and a good goaltending tandem in Martin Jones and Aaron Dell. The Canadiens struggled this season, but the addition of Tavares to that group would give Montreal a bona-fide #1 center they have been craving for a long time. Plus, they have one of the best goaltenders in the world in Carey Price (assuming he returns to his Vezina form). Questions rise when you talk about Montreal's depth and defense, but that team would appear to be closer to the ultimate prize than the Islanders. There have been rumors that the St. Louis Blues could be involved. There is a natural fit with the Blues after they traded Paul Statsny earlier this season. There is plenty of cap space in St. Louis this summer, who should have around $12 million to play with this summer (thanks CapFriendly!) and only depth players in need of new contracts. I find it hard to image Tavares will end up with the Los Angeles Kings. They simply have two solid centers in Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. The Kings would be better off trying to persuade a winger like Evander Kane or James van Riemsdyk to join their squad. The fact that Tavares isn't signed to a long-term deal is scary for Islander fans. Losing an elite player like John Tavares would be a significant blow to a woeful team, and it looks like that might happen. Stay tuned for more. Erik Karlsson The Senators' captain Erik Karlsson might be another player on the move. While he is under contract for one more season, the Ottawa Senators don't appear to be anywhere close to competing for a Stanley Cup. After making the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the wheel came off the Senators, who finished with the second worst record in the NHL. While there has been talk of a new coaching regime (see below), Erik Karlsson might not want to be around if the team needs a lengthy rebuilding process. It definitely appears that way after the 2017-18 season. The Senators struggled to score goals and to keep the puck out of their own net. While they have some good pieces like Karlsson, Thomas Chabot, etc., this team doesn't have the strong defensive group to. Their offense is also lacking. I'm still baffled at the idea of trading Kyle Turris for Matt Duchene (I know there was more involved then just those two players). For me, they are very similar players, although Duchene probably has a higher offensive upside. Either way, it seemed like a lot to give up for a guy that isn't much better than they guy you gave away. There's also the question on if this team has enough offensive firepower or a good enough goaltending situation to be a top team in the NHL. My instincts are telling me that Karlsson wants out of this situation. He has been made the fool by management and ownership, and the team is honestly pathetic at times on the ice. If he wants to win a Cup, Erik Karlsson might want to demand to be moved this season, something that might be easier said that done. Head Coaches There are currently four open coaching positions in the NHL, but their could be a few more depending on what happens with the rest of this NHL postseason. Alain Vigneault was fired by the New York Rangers, but might be the front-runner for the Dallas Stars opening. Ken Hitchcock retired after one season back on the Stars bench. Bill Peters just resigned as the Carolina Hurricanes coach, and many have penciled him into the job with the Calgary Flames, where head coach Glen Gulutzan was relieved of his duties a few weeks ago. These all seem like natural fits, but then who would jump on the Hurricanes and Rangers jobs? Right now, the word out of Carolina is that Rod Brind'amour might be the guy to step in and take over, but that isn't certain. No front-runners have emerged in the search by the Rangers. While I don't have answers, coaches like Guy Boucher in Ottawa might be on the way out simply because their teams weren't very good this past season. The coaching carousel is always exciting in the NHL offseason, and I image if there aren't as many coaching changes this year, the excitement will still be there.
  10. All I thought when I was watching the first period was "damn, the Wild are going to give up on their All-Star goalie and he is going to look like an idiot out there." I know they were dealing with a ton of injuries, but the Wild didn't even get off the plane until the second period. Stalock kept them in the game, but the Wild were just a shell of themselves without key players. Mikko Koivu looked hurt the whole series, so that was just another injury that led to their downfall. Suter and Parise need to be healthy for this team to go anywhere.
  11. This series is impossible to predict. I was listening the SiriusXM last night on my way home from work, and Patrick O'Sullivan said it best: the two series EVERYONE thought would be the longest, hardest series of the first round ended in 4-0 sweeps. I am in the same boat. I thought the Kings would win in 7 based on their playoff experience. But Jeff Carter looked like he needed to be in a hospital, and everyone not named Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick was already on the golf courses. I thought the Ducks would win in 7 because of home ice, but the Sharks actually looked like the fast team they needed to be in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals. I said Vegas in 6. Vegas is incredibly fast and tenacious. I don't see them sweeping away the Sharks, who are miles ahead of their in-state rivals. I just don't see why you would bet against the Golden Knights at this point. I tell you what, though. The goaltending in this series has a chance to amaze. Both Martin Jones and Marc-Andre Fluery were great in the first round, and neither team really did much to say "we are going to score five goals a night." I'm ignoring Game 3 in San Jose, because they didn't score more than 3 in any other game. Also, I don't know if you even want Joe Thornton to come back at this point. The guy is still a great player. He was leading the team in points when he went down. But Vegas will likely expose him for not being the best skater. I have been drooling over the thought of a Kane-Thornton-Pavelski line, but I'm not sure that we want that right now... If they go down 2-0, yeah, you put in the Hall of Famer, but before that? I'm not so sure... He would be fine against Nashville or Winnipeg or Colorado, but I don't know if he would be the best against VGK.
  12. That's actually hard to say. The two actually had very similar numbers in the regular season. Gibson: 2.43 GAA, .926 SV%, 31-18-7 in 60 GP (.575 points earned %), 4 SO Miller: 2.35 GAA, .928 SV%, 12-6-6 in 28 GP (.535 points earned %), 4 SO If you ask me (and I'm a Sharks fan, so I might not have the most un-biased viewpoint), goaltending was NOT the issue for the Ducks. Throw out Game 3, because the Ducks sucked overall in that game. Beyond that, the Sharks averaged 2.667 goals/game. That is fine goaltending. Not great. Not going to win you a Cup, but fine to get a couple of wins. The offense was the problem. Only four goals in four games? Not good enough. Playoff Duck Jakub Silfverberg didn't show up. Corey Perry only wanted to hit things. The defense struggled (I mean, they traded Sami Vatanen and lost Cam Fowler to injury, so I could have told you that was going to happen). The team needs to improve like the Sharks did a few years ago. They need speed. They need better transition play. I will be posted an article tonight (hopefully) about how the Ducks can get better.
  13. Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the latest coverage of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as well as continued coverage of the CHL, NCAA, AHL, and KHL over at www.belowthegoalline.com! Day 10 of the Stanley Cup Playoff featured three games where each of the series could have ended in Game 5 on Friday night. Check out the entire playoff picture here. Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins Facing elimination, the Philadelphia Flyers headed into Pittsburgh with a goalie controversy against the Penguins. Michal Neuvirth would make his first start of the series after Brian Elliot could not get the job done in the first four game of this series. Neuvirth has dealt with injury issues throughout his career, and wasn't even able to back up Elliot in the first few games. But Neuvirth's return to the net tonight gave the Flyers the boast they needed to pick up the Game 5 win, which forces a Game 6 in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored in the first period to give the road team the 1-0 lead. Giroux's first of the playoffs was the result of the Penguins not playing to their full potential in this game. They were sloppy and didn't seem very interested in this game. That was until midway through the second period, when the Penguins flipped the switch and dominated the play for much of the middle frame. Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh in that second period. The Penguins threw 14 shots on Neuvirth in the period. Neuvirth did hold the Penguins' powerplay off the score sheet in this one. He did not allow a goal in five PP opportunities, including four powerplays in the second period. While you never want to take penalties, this time it paid off. Valtteri Filppula score a late shorthanded goal that really turned the momentum in favor of the Flyers going into the second intermission. The Penguins came out in the third period with the same attitude they had to start the game. They had trouble connecting on passes, and didn't really seem engaged in a game that could have eliminated the rival Flyers from the playoffs. They did pick up their play later in the period, but the difference in the game was the Flyers' Sean Couturier, who grabbed a puck at the blueline of the Penguins zone and banked in a goal off of a Penguins' defender. That goal made the score 3-2 in favor of the Flyers. Matt Read would pick up an empty net goal to reach our final score of 4-2 in this game. With the win, the Flyers force a Game 6 at home. Pittsburgh now lead 3-2 in the series. Minnesota Wild @ Winnipeg Jets Much could have been said about the Winnipeg Jets had they lost this game at home to the Minnesota Wild. Without three of their regular defensemen, as well as impact forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault, everyone probably would have given the Jets a pass for losing this game, especially when they held a 3-1 series lead entering the tilt. But from the drop of the puck, you could tell the Jets didn't want to play in a Game 6. The Jets dominated the first period with their speed and physicality. The Wild, on the other hand, looked like they had just woken up from their pregame naps. If you missed the first period, you really didn't need to tune into this game at all. Along with their hard-hitting play, the Jets racked up four goals on start Devan Dubnyk in the first 12 minutes of the opening period. While I don't particularly blame Dubnyk for the loss in this game, he definitely wasn't his elite playoff goalie self in the first period. Jacob Trouba scored 31 seconds into the period on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle. That is the goal Dubnyk needs to save for his team, but the puck finds the top left corner of the net. With that goal, the flood gates opened for the Jets. Bryan Little picked up his first of the series at 5:42. Brandon Tanev also scored his first, and Joel Armia knocked Dubnyk out of the game with his first of the series at 11:59 of the first period. Head coach Bruce Boudreau pulled Dubnyk in favor of backup Alex Stalock in hopes that his team would get a jolt from realizing they left their All-Star goaltender down in this game. But the move was too little, too late, as the Wild would not muster a single goal in this game, despite outshooting the Jets 30-26. The Jets won Game 5 5-0, and ended the series 4-1 for their first ever playoff series victory in franchise history. They now await the winner of the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. Colorado Avalanche @ Nashville Predators Speaking of the Avalanche/Predators series, they also played Friday night in Nashville. With a 3-1 series lead, the defending Western Conference Champions could eliminate Colorado with a win tonight. This was a spectacular goalie battle, however. Andrew Hammond got the start for the Avalanche, who were looking to avoid elimination for the first time in this series. Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne got the nod once again for Nashville. Andrew Hammond was great in this game. The Predators peppered Hammond with 45 shots in the game, including 19 in the third period, but the 30-year-old stood tall, allowing just one goal on all of those Nashville shots. The Predators goal didn't come until 10:18 of the first period, when Nick Bonino deflected a shot past the Colorado netminder. After a review, Bonino was credited with his first playoff goal as a Predator after it was determined he did not kick the puck into the net. Pekka Rinne was also solid in this game. He stopped all 16 Avalanche shots through the first two period of this one, and looked to take home another playoff victory after the Bonino goal. It wouldn't be that easy for Rinne, however, because the Avalanche pushed back as they tried to avoid elimination. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog would tie the game with a little over four minutes left in the game. Nathan MacKinnon skated the puck through the zone and pulled Rinne away from the net. MacKinnon found Landeskog in front, who simply tapped home the pass from MacKinnon to tie the game. Then, the nightmare set in for Rinne and the rest of his Predator teammates. Sven Andrighetto would score with just 1:28 remaining to give the Avalanche the 2-1 lead. Andrighetto was part of a 2-on-1 coming at Pekka Rinne. After a J.T. Compher shot, the rebound came right to Andrighetto for the easy goal. That would be all the scoring we would see in this game. The Avalanche shock Nashville for the 2-1 win, and force a Game 6 on Sunday night. Nashville still leads the series 3-2 as it shifts back to Colorado.

Game Room 1

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