Avalanche doomed by Predators — and replays — in 4th straight loss
Seriously, Colton Sissons. What did we ever do to you?
The Avalanche landed on the wrong end of a Sissons hat trick and a kidney punch at the hands of the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators — again — late Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center in a 4-1 defeat.
Sissons’ triple— his sixth, seventh and eighth goals scored in just 10 career games against the Avalanche — spoiled a power-play goal by Matt Calvert and the Avs’ first tilt on home ice in nearly two weeks.
The Avs (7-5-3, 17 points) dropped their fourth contest in a row and slipped seven points behind Nashville (12-3-0, 24 points), winner of four straight. The hosts have lost five of their last six after a 6-1-2 start, and coach Jared Bednar lamented communication breakdowns on the ice, especially on the defensive end.
“I think it’s something that mature teams do real well,” Bednar said, “and we’re just not quite there yet in that regard.”
Which made this one especially deflating, given the context, the 0-3 road trip that preceded it, and the opponent.
Oh, and a pair home goals that were disallowed after video review — the last one off the stick of Colin Wilson at the 7:39 mark of the third period with the Avs trying to trim a two-score deficit.
“I’ve got to try to find the review, the replays that they have,” Bednar mused after the game. “Because, to me, there’s one (that) could be inconclusive. Maybe both, I don’t know … the two goals that got called back were just an aspect of our lack of execution.”
Although it wasn’t for lack of passion. There was no love lost on the ice — or in the stands — for the Preds, who won all four of the matchups between the division rivals last season and knocked the Avs out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring.
Sissons plunged the dagger with two first-period goals. But it was his third — off a power play with three seconds left in the second period that pushed the Nashville lead to 3-1 — that twisted the knife, cinching his second career hat trick.
The Preds’ man advantage at the end of the second, the result of a slashing penalty on winger Mikko Rantanen, came at the tail end of a period that saw the hosts get more aggressive — and physical — despite being outshot, 29-17, through the game’s first 40 minutes.
The crowd got mighty chippy, too, after one home goal in the stanza was disallowed and another — a nifty deflection on the power play 7:08 into the stanza by Calvert, his first of the season — nearly met the same fate.
The goal was nearly waved off for high sticking but was reinstated after officials huddled up to give a second look and the restless natives exhaled and roared with delight.
It was the Avs’ first game at Pepsi Center since a 6-3 win over Ottawa on Oct. 26 and their first contest in five days. But it was the hosts who looked as though they had the heavier legs early on as the Preds took a 2-0 lead late in the first period.
Nashville struck first at the 13:39 mark of opening stanza when Sissons, camping on the right side of the crease, tapped the puck past Seymon Varlamov off a feed from Nick Bonino.
Sissons struck again almost four minutes later on a laser from the right circle at 17:21 to double the advantage. That was Vancouver, British Columbia, native’s seventh career goal, lifetime, against the Avs. The Preds center has 26 career goals in 205 NHL games, and 30.7 percent — almost a third — have come against the Avalanche.
Ian Cole’s slap shot for a goal re-energized the Pepsi Center faithful with 18:31 to go in the second period, but Nashville coach Peter Laviolette challenged it. Replays showed that fellow defenseman Sam Girard was offside on a spin move at the blue line before the goal was scored, preserving the shutout and sending the hosts back to the drawing board.
Author: Sean Keeler