Friday, January 30, 2015

Avalanche Shut Down the Predators 3-0

The Colorado Avalanche used a stifling defense to shut down the Nashville Predators at the Pepsi Center to capture their first win this season against the visitors.

The Avs used a first period goal from Maxim Talbot, a third period goal from Jerome Iginla, and a late empty net goal from Gabriel Landeskog to secure a 3-0 victory.

Marek Mazanec got the start for the Predators in net and played a solid game. Semyon Varlamov, his counterpart in goal for Colorado was better. Varlamov stopped all 28 shots he faced.

The Predators offense created some chances during the game but looked a bit out of sync after a tough game the previous night in St. Louis. The avalanche defense totally frustrated the Predators offensive effort, not allowing clean entries into the offensive zone. When they did create some scoring chances, Varlamov shut down the Predators.

Some observations:

  • Marek Mazanec got his first start since his recall since Carter Hutton played last night in St. Louis. Mazanec looked good in net- confident and moved well and did a good job of tracking the puck. He made several quality saves during the course of the game.
  • Olli Jokinen was a healthy scratch and Taylor Beck returned to the lineup.
  • The Avs have become a trapping team under Coach Patrick Roy, and the Preds struggled to handle the trap during stretches of the game. That is the style of hockey the Avalanche have to play to try to claw back into contention, and this is a good test for the Predators in handling this style of play because this is what they will see in the playoffs.
  • The Predators were without Mike Ribeiro for the majority of the third period as he picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct penalty. Must have said something really bad to referee Wes MacCauly.
  • With the absence of Ribeiro, Colin Wilson moved up to center the top line.
  • The Predators had a difficult time establishing a consistent offensive flow. Credit the Avs for their defense, which choked off a lot of the Predators offensive effort. When the Predators got some scoring chances, they could not solve Varlamov.
  • This was just the second time this season that the Predators have lost back to back games, and it was just their 11th regulation loss this season.
Not a fun game for the Predators. Not much offensive consistency or pop.

We all know that the month after the All Star game is going to be a test for the Predators. They will play 15 games in 28 days in February and have several back to backs.

Now is the time for the team to dig down and elevate their play. This nest four weeks will go a long way to determining where the Preds wind up in the playoffs.

My three stars:

1. Semyon Varlamov

2. Jerome Iginla

3. Marek Mazanec

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