Nathan MacKinnon from the Colorado Avalanche scored three goals and one assist in a game against the Nashville Predators on Friday night. His teammate, Devon Toews added one goal and one assist. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 18 shots for the Avalanche, and with their victory, they won the Central Division title! Mikko Rantanen also helped by giving two assists. Kiefer Sherwood scored two goals for the Predators, with help from Luke Evangelista who got one goal and Kevin Lankinen making 30 saves.
With 1:42 minutes left in the third period, MacKinnon skated into Nashville’s zone on his right side before shooting a wrist shot that got past Lankinen. This was his 42nd goal of the season, making this the first time he achieved such a high number. The hat trick (three goals) was also his first of this season and fourth of his career.
MacKinnon then said after: “I had some good shots tonight and luckily I scored them all”.
The Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup and will start their defense against Seattle in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, their captain Gabriel Landeskog isn’t able to play due to an injury that has kept him out for the whole season and he announced on Thursday morning that he can’t be part of the playoffs either.
The Avalanche coach, Jared Bednar, said that the team has worked incredibly hard throughout this season. Despite any issues they encountered, they’ve kept improving and different players have continually stepped up to help out. Their leaders have also been amazing.
Colorado had the upper hand early on in the game as they outshot Nashville 18-4. Just 28 seconds after the game started, MacKinnon made an assist for Toews’ goal. He then scored twice – once when he sneakily got past two Predators players and shot a backhand close to Lankinen with 6:46 minutes left in the first.
At 7:08 of the second period, Nashville evened the score with a power-play goal from Sherwood. This was his first career game where he scored two goals and he previously played with Colorado for two seasons.
Sherwood said that even though the plans didn’t work out, the group showed a lot of strength and courage to reach close to the end. But even though they tried their best, they sadly couldn’t get the win because they were up against champions who have shown great character.
The Nashville Predators missed out on the chance to make it into this year’s playoffs. This is especially sad because they had made it in the last eight seasons and their record was only second behind Pittsburgh, who has made it sixteen times. Unfortunately, all three teams didn’t make it this season.
The Nashville Predators were successful in stopping the Avalanche from scoring on any of their four power plays during the game. In fact, the Predators had a really good streak going since they hadn’t let up a single power-play goal in their previous six games – so all 17 penalty kills were completed!
Friday was the last game for Predators general manager David Poile. On that day, he declared that he was resigning from his position—which he had held since the team’s creation—and will be replaced by Barry Trotz, the original coach of Nashville’s Team. The Avalanche group has a game on Tuesday versus Seattle in the first round while the Predators have left and are now in their off season time.