The Nashville Predators took a 2-0 series lead after outscoring the Avalanche 5-4 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Down a game after falling 5-2 to the Predators on Thursday, the Avalanche entered the game without another key player on the back end. The team announced defenseman Samuel Girard would be out just before the start of the game with an upper body injury, Duncan Siemens filling in.
Despite starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov, defenseman Erik Johnson and now Girard out, Avalanche jumped to a hot start after an early Gabriel Bourque goal a little under three minutes in. The Avs carried the 1-0 lead into the second period.
Early game, early goal.April 14, 2018
At the start of the second, mirroring the Avs hot start, Kevin Fiala netted a power play goal in the slot after a bad bounce off Nemeth's skate to tie the game -- their scoring would continue.
This just in from @KevinFiala22...April 14, 2018
Between the penalties and increased offensive chances for Nashville in the second, the Predators finally broke open the scoring that was displayed in Game 1.
Victory Arvidsson powered home a slap shot past Avs' goalie Jonathan Bernier at the 7:24 mark, and soon after Preds defenseman P.K. Subban made a great clear in the defensive zone resulting in a Ryan Johansen breakaway goal for the 3-1 lead with 3:28 in the period.
The Avalanche have relied on their first line to do most of their scoring throughout the season, and they struck again. Leading scorer, top 5 scorer in the NHL and Hart Trophy nominee, Nathan MacKinnon netted a backhand a little over 30 seconds after the Johansen's goal to pull within one to end the second.
The Predators had more takeaways and out-hit the Avalanche in Game 1 and although the Avs took it upon themselves to play a grittier game on Saturday they continued to give away pucks.
In the third period, with 12:44 in the period, Nashville's Austin Watson netted his second goal of the series after a giveaway by Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov. The Avalanche had eight giveaways, this one resulting in a 4-2 Predators lead.
The Avs continued to crawl back, taking advantage of a 5-on-3 to make it 4-3 off a Gabriel Landeskog tip and then again -- following a Predators' empty-netter -- Alexander Kerfoot nets one with 35 seconds left in the game to pull within one.
Despite a battle-back effort from the second period on, the Avalanche could not catch the Predators. Nashville wins 5-4 and takes a 2-0 series lead before heading to Denver, Colorado for Game 3 and Game 4.
Game 3 takes place at the Pepsi Center Monday, April 16 at 8pm.