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Mattias Ekholm ignited the offense early with the first goal by a Nashville defenseman in the series Chidobe Awuzie Jersey , Pekka Rinne stopped 22 shots and the top-seeded Predators advanced to the second round with a 5-0 victory over the Avalanche in Game 6 on Sunday night.
Austin Watson , Filip Forsberg , Nick Bonino and Viktor Arvidsson also scored to help the Predators move on to face Winnipeg. They were 3-1-1 against the Jets in the regular season.
”I’m very impressed the way (the Avalanche) played. They played very modern hockey, with a lot of speed,” said Rinne, who notched his fourth career postseason shutout as the Predators won the series 4-2. ”Great game. Great team effort. We didn’t give them any life.”
Nashville removed any sort of drama with two goals in the opening period and two more in the second to hush the capacity crowd. That’s the sort of game plan the Predators envisioned.
”I think that was our best game from start to finish,” Watson said. ”That’s good for us going forward, to be able to take the last game of this series and carry that into how we want to play in the next one.”
Andrew Hammond ran out of magic in net, allowing five goals. The third-string goaltender nicknamed ”Hamburglar” had 44 saves during a Game 5 win in Nashville to extend the series. But he couldn’t turn back a formidable Nashville offense that won a second straight playoff contest in Denver. Before this, the Avalanche hadn’t lost two straight at the Pepsi Center since early December.
”It’s disappointing to us and I’m sure it’s disappointing to fans,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. ”It means a lot to us that they did give us a standing ovation at the end.”
Watson tormented Colorado with four goals and seven points in the series. In all, 11 of Nashville’s forwards had at least a point over six games.
The one thing missing was contributions from a blue line that tied a franchise record for goals during the regular season. The Predators `D’ was held scoreless until Ekholm’s slap shot at 7:20.
Forsberg scored 38 seconds into second to give Nashville a 3-0 lead and completely drain the energy out of the arena. Bonino added another to go with his two assists.
The closest Colorado came to scoring on Rinne was in the second period, when Nikita Zadorov sent in a shot, but it was waved off due to goaltender interference on Carl Soderberg.
”Every line that went out there took a lot of pride in playing good defense Johnny Hekker Jersey , even at the end with the game 5-0. We still protected the net,” Rinne said. ”Guys wanted to get me that shutout.”
It was quite a bounce-back season for Colorado, which boasts one of the youngest teams in the league. The Avalanche went from a 48-point team in 2016-17 to 95 points this season, earning the last playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. The Avs are the first NHL team to post that sort of turnaround from one full season to the next since Pittsburgh also jumped 47 points in 2005-06 (58) to `06-07 (105).
”There are a lot of positives for sure,” said Nathan MacKinnon, who was held to one shot Sunday. ”Everybody thought we weren’t going to make it, that we were going to be the odd-team-out in the West. Obviously, it’s nice to prove some people wrong and have a good young team going forward.”
In the handshake line after the game, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette had some encouraging words for MacKinnon.
”He thought our team was up-and-coming, similar to their team,” MacKinnon recounted. ”Definitely, it’s a good team to be compared to.”
Colorado ran into a Predators squad that looked every bit like the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final a season ago and won the Presidents’ Trophy this season. They’re clicking on all cylinders heading into the Winnipeg series.
”These guys have been flying around for six games, playing really fast hockey,” Forsberg said. ”We’ve been trying to play as fast as we can as well. If we can bring that speed into the next round that will be good.”
NOTES: The Predators improved to 6-6 all-time in a Game 6 situation. … F Colton Sissons had two assists. … RW Ryan Hartman was a scratch after being suspended for Game 5 for a hit on Soderberg. … D P.K. Subban had high praise for MacKinnon: ”My expectations for him as a player is to be a Hall of Famer by the end of his career.”
William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault each scored to help the expansion Vegas Golden Knights clinch a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.
The Golden Knights Justin Reid Jersey , who lead the Pacific Division, became the first team to reach the playoffs in its inaugural season since the league expanded for the 1967-68 season.
It was also the 200th career victory for coach Gerard Gallant.
Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore also scored for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 28-11-4 after stopping 28 shots.
Erik Johnson scored for the Avalanche and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves.
The Avalanche hold a wild card in the Western Conference, just in front of St. Louis.
CAPITALS 4, RANGERS 2
NEW YORK (AP) – Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 45th goal and Washington extended its winning streak to four games with a victory over New York.
T.J. Oshie, Matt Niskanen and Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored for Washington. Nicklas Backstrom, who had four assists in a win over Montreal on Saturday, added two more to give him 44 this season. Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves.
Washington increased its lead to five points over two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Lias Andersson scored in his NHL debut and Mats Zuccarello added a goal for the Rangers.
The Capitals scored four goals in the first period and cruised from there.
KINGS 3, FLAMES 0
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Anze Kopitar tied a career high with his 34th goal, Jonathan Quick made 23 saves and Los Angeles moved back into playoff position by shutting out Calgary.
Dion Phaneuf had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who tied Anaheim for third place in the Pacific Division at 91 points. They also passed Colorado (90 points) and St. Louis (89) in the Western Conference wild-card race.
Jeff Carter also had a power-play goal.
Mike Smith stopped 26 shots for the Flames, who were eliminated from playoff contention. Calgary has been outscored 28-7 during a six-game losing streak.
SHARKS 4, BLACKHAWKS 3, SO
CHICAGO (AP) – Kevin Labanc scored the deciding goal in the fourth round of a shootout and San Jose beat Chicago for its eighth straight victory.
Labanc almost pulled to a stop in front of Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg James Hanna Jersey , faked and then lifted in a nifty backhand. Logan Couture also connected in the tiebreaker for the surging Sharks, whose winning streak is their longest in seven years.
Chicago’s Patrick Sharp tied it at 3 with 2:22 left in the third period. Tomas Hertl had put the Sharks ahead 3-2 just 1:57 earlier.
San Jose’s Evander Kane scored his 28th goal – his eighth in 13 games since being acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline. Marcus Sorensen also had a goal for the Sharks.
Rookie forward Alex DeBrincat scored his 26th goal and had an assist, and Connor Murphy scored his second for the last-place Blackhawks, who have lost six of seven.
Martin Jones made 28 saves through overtime and stopped three of four Blackhawks in the shootout.
PANTHERS 3, ISLANDERS 0
NEW YORK (AP) – Evgenii Dadonov had a goal and an assist, and James Reimer stopped 32 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as Florida moved closer to a playoff spot by blanking the reeling New York Islanders.
Keith Yandle also had a goal and an assist, and Nick Bjugstad scored to help Florida win for the 13th time in 17 games (13-3-1). The Panthers moved within a point of idle New Jersey for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. They have eight games remaining, one more than the Devils.
Reimer, who has 21 career shutouts, won his fifth straight start with his second shutout during that stretch. The 30-year-old goalie improved to 7-1-0 since returning from an injury Feb. 12.
Christopher Gibson finished with 38 saves for the Islanders, who were eliminated from postseason contention for the second straight year with their 14th loss in 16 games (2-10-4).
COYOTES 4, LIGHTNING 1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist to lead Arizona over Tampa Bay.
The Coyotes got two goals from defensemen as Trevor Murphy and Jacob Chychrun each scored to help Arizona improve to 17-12-6 since January. Brendan Perlini also scored for the Coyotes, and Antti Raanta had 19 saves.
Chychrun scored the winner on the power play at 17:22 of the second period.
The Lightning played without captain Steven Stamkos Adam Vinatieri Jersey , who missed the game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Tampa Bay has lost consecutive games for the second time in 10 days. Since scoring seven goals against the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Lightning have two goals in two games.
CANADIENS 4, RED WINGS 2
MONTREAL (AP) – Brendan Gallagher scored twice, including his 30th goal of the season, and Carey Price snapped a seven-game losing streak as Montreal defeated skidding Detroit.
Paul Byron and Alex Galchenyuk also scored for the Canadiens in a matchup of Original Six franchises already eliminated from playoff contention. Price made 26 saves for his first win since Feb. 4. He had been 0-5-2 since then.
Gustav Nyquist and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for Detroit, and Jared Coreau stopped 27 shots in his fifth game of the season. He is 0-4-0.
The Red Wings have won just once in their last 14 games (1-12-1).
HURRICANES 4, SENATORS 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Warren Foegele had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, and Carolina beat Ottawa.
Brock McGinn and Valentin Zykov scored 98 seconds apart in the second period, Sebastian Aho had an empty-netter with 1:59 remaining and Derek Ryan had two assists to help the Hurricanes win their th Authentic Womens Vita Vea Jersey