Third-period heroics, probably the best way to describe what happened in this game five showdowns in Nashville. The Colorado Avalanche were forced to go with their third-string goaltender Andrew Hammond as their other two netminders were out with injuries.
Hammond who had only made two starts since January was certainly coming into this game very cold. The Predators could eliminate the Avs with a win in Nashville and move on to the second round to play the Winnipeg Jets.
Hammond would be tested early in the game as the Preds bombarded him early in the game, badly out shooting the Avs 11-8. Thanks to multiple big saves by Hammond however the score remained tied at zero, but things didn’t exactly look good for the Avs besides their goaltender.
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The second period would see an even greater shooting gallery for the Preds. This time it was a 15-8 gap in shots that period, but Hammond and Rinne shut the door again as the second period would once again yield no goals for either side. However given the pressure the Preds were generating, it would seem only a matter of time before something would give.
Sure enough in the third period the deadlock would be broken by the Preds midway through the period. Nick Bonino would be the recipient of a pass by Ekholm on a two on one that would bank off his skate and passed Hammond. The referees would review the play looking for a kicking motion, however the call would ultimately stand and the Preds would take the 1-0 lead.
Nashville would continue to bombard the Colorado net with shots but Hammond wouldn’t give an inch, and late in the period the hard work would pay off. With a little over four minutes left in the game the Avs would tie the game as Nathan MacKinnon would dance around the defence and dish a sweet pass to Gabriel Landeskog who would bury it into the open cage behind Pekka Rinne.
Now, most people would be gearing up for overtime, the Avs had other plans however as they would strike again with a little over a minute to go. It was a two on one for the Avs and Compher would elect to shoot the puck on Rinne.
The stop was made but the puck trickled out of his possession and right on the stick of Sven Andrighetto who would make no mistake and give the Avs the lead late in the game. Despite being out shot again in the third 19-11, the Avs would hold on for the win and stave off elimination. The final shot tally being 45-27 for the Preds, but the 2-1 victory would go to the Avs. Game six will take place Sunday April 22 in Colorado.