Forsberg's late goals lead Preds past Avs in Game 1

Chris King

He put up decent numbers when he filled in for Semyon Varlamov but he needs to be able to steal a game or two in the series if the Avalanche intend on advancing. That is a microcosm of this series as the experienced Predators take on the upstart Avalanche. The Predators improved to 41-4-6 when scoring first and 23-4-4 when leading after one period. They were good offensively tonight though, and need to continue to get quality shots on Pekka Rinne. If Nashville were less experienced, they may have been phased. The Avalanche are a +230 underdog, while the total sits at 5.5 goals. No first-overall team has choked in Round 1 since 2012, though. Chemistry can create a very deep esprit de corps, and the Avs have embraced their collective identity. If the Predators engage a killer instinct early, this series is over in no more than five.

Nashville has been here before, though.

I mentioned a nice stop on Rantanen earlier... you knew the real Pekka Rinne was back when Rantanen took the puck at the Av's blueline, went straight down Broadway and split the Preds defensemen with a simply gorgeous rush that had goal written all over until the Eraser made a simply incredible toe save, preserving the tie late in the second period. Jonathan Bernier has allowed four goals on 30 shots. They led the league with 320 minor penalties and 10 misconducts and tied San Jose with the most game misconducts (four).

Colorado would answer though under two minutes later.

Three of the last four Presidents' Trophy winners lost in the second round, where the risky Winnipeg Jets (+800) could face Nashville. It was also a handsome pass from Ryan Johansen through two Colorado penalty killers.

"We're going to keep that mystique going again", said Predators President Sean Henry.

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At 6:08, Filip Forsberg tipped in a Roman Josi shot to snag the lead for the Predators, now up 3-2.

Forsberg wasn't too noticeable in this one.

Fans who want to get a chance to purchase the $15 day-of-game tickets must register to become a Smashville Verified Fan. Roman Josi is one of the better defensemen in the National Hockey League. Among the team's 82 games this season, 41 have gone over the total, while 40 have gone under and just one has pushed. Take a bow because with moves that saucy, you'll be here a while. An empty netter by Colton Sissons would finish up the game at 5-2.

Austin Watson also scored for Nashville, which goes into the postseason having won two straight.

The Predators have the Presidents' Trophy, and the NHL-expansion Golden Knights carry the buzz entering the Western Conference playoffs, which have the potential of resembling nothing from the past. The Vezina candidate came up with huge saves early, including a stuff with the pad on a breakaway that you can check out below. Bernier is actually a solid goalie, not among the top in the league when you make a list of top 10 goalies in the NHL, but for a backup he gets the job done. Rinne was calm in stopping 25 shots, he was sound in his positioning, and he dominated from the outset.

Knowing how to win in the playoffs is one of the many advantages that the Predators have going into this series. He was fast and confident and continued to show up throughout the game.

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