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Preds 1, Avalanche 3

Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 12:15 AM
By Jimi Russell - Nashville Predators / The Russell Report

The Nashville Predators closed out their season-opening two-game road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night in the Mile High City.

The Preds got off to a better start than they didn’t against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, but more defensive breakdowns saw the Avs jump out to a 2-0 lead before the Preds finally responded with a goal from Paul Gaustad.

With less than five minutes remaining in the second period, Mike Fisher picked up a pass from Craig Smith and carried it deep into the Colorado zone before he threw the puck to the middle of the ice. Fisher’s centering attempt bounced of an Avalanche player and found its way onto Gaustad’s stick as he shelved a shot over Semyon Varlamov’s shoulder. Gaustad also went an astonishing 16-for-18 (89 percent) in the face-off circle on Friday night.

The Preds continued to keep the pressure on, but penalties kept them fighting an uphill battle through the final 20 minutes. Colorado was able to connect on an open-net goal to finish off Nashville, 3-1.

Three Big Things:

Rinne Returns – After a less than hopeful start to the season, Pekka Rinne rebounded on Friday night, stopping 33 of 35 shots against in the loss. Despite the final score, the Finnsh netminder was back to his usual self. Rinne’s lateral movement looked normal as he made several big saves, including a huge save of an odd-man rush midway through the second period. The goals he did allow came during tough situations for the goalie. The Avs got on the board immediately after a hard collision between Paul Gaustad and Matt Hendricks in the Nashville end. When Gaustad and Hendricks went to the bench, the Preds were caught shorthanded momentarily and the Avs took advantage, jamming a rebound home. The second goal was a seeing-eye puck that found its way through two Avalanche screens and past Rinne. Even in the loss, Friday’s game will hopefully boost Rinne’s confidence heading into the five-game homestand.

Penalty Trouble – After not being assessed a penalty in the opening period, the Preds committed eight penalties through the final two periods for a total of 16 penalty minutes – only 10 of which were shorthanded. Despite spending 10 minutes shorthanded through the final 40 minutes of play, Nashville did not allow a power-play goal against. On Thursday in St. Louis, the penalty kill wasn’t as adept, allowing one goal in just 4:21 of shorthanded time.

Jones vs. MacKinnon – There was a lot of hype heading into Friday night’s game as arguably the two best players in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft faced-off for the first time in their young careers. Jones, coming off a +2 performance in St. Louis, logged a game-high 25:46 of ice time, including 5:55 of shorthanded ice time, and one shot on goal. On the other side, MacKinnon tallied an assist – his third of the season – on P.A. Parenteau’s first period goal. MacKinnon also logged 17:14 of ice time on Friday. Although MacKinnon got the best of Jones in round one, this is going to be an exciting matchup to watch for years to come.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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