April 13, 2018 / 4:31 AM / 6 months ago

Forsberg's late goals lead Preds past Avs in Game 1

Filip Forsberg scored two third-period goals Thursday night as the Nashville Predators dumped the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 at Bridgestone Arena to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series.

Game 2 of the series is Saturday in Nashville.

Forsberg, who has 13 goals and 11 assists in 20 regular-season matches against Colorado, snapped a 2-2 tie at 6:08 of the third period by deflecting Roman Josi’s point blast past a helpless Jonathan Bernier.

Forsberg then doubled the lead at 12:10 with an unassisted marker. He dangled the puck through the legs of rookie defenseman Samuel Girard, who started the season with the Predators, and then beat Bernier with a wrister.

Colton Sissons sealed the outcome with an empty-netter at 18:03 as Nashville notched its 11th straight win over the Avalanche, dating back to April 2016.

With precious few players possessing playoff experience, Colorado calmed whatever nerves it might have had by scoring on its first shot. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov took a Mikko Rantanen pass and sniped a wrister past Pekka Rinne at 6:36 of the first period.

Nashville erased its deficit just 3:16 into the second period. Austin Watson wired a wrister from a sharp angle at the right circle over the left shoulder of Bernier to ignite an already-raucous audience.

The Avalanche responded 95 seconds later by regaining the lead. Four Predators had their eyes on Matt Nieto as he operated behind the net, but none picked up Carl Soderberg as he steamed into the high slot and took a wrister. Blake Comeau scored on a redirection to make it 2-1.

Nashville equalized for the second time on its first power play. Ten seconds after Nathan MacKinnon took an offensive zone minor for slashing, Craig Smith roofed a wrister off a Ryan Johansen feed at 8:50 of the second.

Rinne, a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy for the first time in his distinguished career, finished the night with 25 saves. Bernier made 26 saves in his second career playoff start.

—Field Level Media

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