Nashville takes 2-0 series lead after 5-4 win over Avalanche

Pekka Rinne

The Nashville forward wound up with not only the first playoff goal of his career but the victor with 1:09 left as the Predators held off the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 Saturday for a 2-0 lead in their first-round Western Conference series.

BC-HKN-Avalanche-Predators, 1st Ld-Writethru, 800 Predators take 2-0 lead after holding off Avalanche 5-4AP Photo TNMH119, TNMH114, TNMH118, TNMH117, TNMH120, TNMH121, TNMH112, TNMH110, TNMH109, TNMH106Eds: Predators 5, Avalanche 4.

The Predators hosted the 5-2 victory Thursday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

"I always feel like he's at his best when he's a power forward first", Predators coach Peter Laviolette said of Forsberg.

Game 3 takes place at the Pepsi Center Monday, April 16 at 8pm. He skated down the center of the ice, going straight at the Avalanche net. Rinne made some spectacular saves on each member of the top line at various moments of the game that could have swung the momentum the Avs' way.

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Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, and Gabriel Bourque and Gabriel Landeskog each added a goal for Colorado.

"I'm happy with the way we played", Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "We're certainly capable of doing it". The Avs carried the 1-0 lead into the second period. Things often aren't that simple in a Stanley Cup Playoff series, but MacKinnon means that much to a Colorado team that would be well shy of postseason quality without him. He gained control again and tapped it between the legs of Avalanche defender Samuel Girard. The corps thinned when Tyson Barrie was hit in the face by a puck that deflected off goalie Jonathan Bernier's stick, but he returned later in the period. He carried that play over into the postseason and Nashville is loving it.

Pastrnak shattered his previous career high of four points, scoring his third goal with 1:36 left to bring two trash cans full of caps and winter hats fluttering down to the ice. Johansen got the puck on a breakaway and beat Bernier with a backhander. Neither game was really that easy as game one was tied 2-2 as the teams headed to the 3rd before the Preds won 5-2 and game two was tight throughout before the Preds pulled out a 5-4 win. Yet the Predators rallied again to take their first 2-0 lead when starting a best-of-seven series in their own building. Although Nashville came away with a 5-2 win, that game could have easily been a 4-2 win for the Avalanche with the chances Colorado failed to capitalize on. The Predators killed the rest of the penalty, and Rinne made a big pad save on Sven Andrighetto just after the advantage ended. "I think the first two periods we outplayed them for big parts of it". The Avs have gone 28-13 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.54 gpg and have allowed 2.39 gpg in those games.

Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson also scored for Tampa Bay, which is up 2-0 in the series after going 0-2-1 against the Devils during the regular season.

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