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Klee’s Game 1 Rapid Reactions: Predators 5, Avalanche 2

By: Paul Klee
April 12, 2018 Updated: April 12, 2018 at 10:18 pm
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Colorado Avalanche defenseman Mark Barberio (44) and Nashville Predators left wing Viktor Arvidsson (33), of Sweden, chase the puck during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Thursday, April 12, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Gazette columnist Paul Klee’s quick thoughts on Colorado’s loss to the Nashville Predators in Game 1 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday: 

1. The Avalanche silenced Music City — then the Predators ratcheted up the volume. Blessed with 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Avs appeared unfazed by the noise inside the catfish tank. But there's a reason the Preds entered these Stanley Cup playoffs as the favorite to host a parade. Nashville's roster-wide depth reared its head on a power-play goal that tied the score at 2 and shoved all the momentum in the building toward Smashville. If the Avalanche drop Saturday's game as well, this is the one that's going to tickle. They had a shot to steal one on the road and failed to close it out.    

Avalanche Predators Hockey
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35), of Finland, makes a stop as defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14), of Sweden, keeps Colorado Avalanche defenseman David Warsofsky (5) away during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Thursday, April 12, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) 

2.  The first catfish was tossed onto the ice in the first period, wearing a top hat and all. Truth is, the Avalanche checked several boxes that were required to grab a win here, specifically an early lead. Nikita Zadorov's goal in the first period caught the Predators and their crowd by surprise. And soon after the Preds tied it, Blake Comeau shut 'em up with another goal. For all the positives that Colorado offered on Thursday, there was one big, uncomfortable negative looming in the dressing room: the Avs did a bunch of things right and still came up on the short end.

3. Tough to pin this one on Jonathan

Bernier. The well-traveled goalie, who is the key to this series for the Avs, got beat for the second goal on a Nashville power play. But the Preds just keep comin'. The Avs' 'D' stayed true to its personnel, thinking attack-first, and that left Bernier on an island more than once. But the overall takeaway from Game 1 was pretty simple: for two periods, the Avalanche weren't overwhelmed by the best team in hockey. The talent level is there. There just wasn't enough of it. The Preds have more dangerous scorers to throw on the ice and it showed.

Check back later at Gazette.com for more coverage from Nashville.

Twitter: @bypaulklee

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