JOE BIDDLE: Preds look to put away defiant Avalanche

Joe-Biddle
Avalanche Predators Hockey_1524171496493

Colorado Avalanche center Carl Soderberg (34), of Sweden, blocks a shot by Nashville Predators right wing Ryan Hartman (38) during the third period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) ORG XMIT: TNMH117

Well, well.

The Predators packed their bags and flew to Colorado Saturday. They had planned to see the last of the Rocky Mountains by beating the Avalanche in Game 5 of the best of seven series.

Trouble is, the young, rough and tough Avalanche had plans of their own.

When the Avalanche scored a game-winning goal with only 88 seconds remaining in regulation, it had to shock the Predators, a team that rarely loses at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators allowed the Avalanche’s third string goalie to post a win, going the full count to shock the home team and force a Game 6 in Denver.

Smashville turned into Smushville, if only for the time being.

The Predators ran into too many road blocks, slowed by too many speed bumps along the way.

They said all the right things after the game and as they boarded a plane for Game 6. They understood what they had to correct. They knew the score. They know to a player they do not under any circumstance want to return to Nashville for a Game 7.

If they don’t want to disappoint the Predators fervent fan base, they better take care of business in Rocky Mountain high.

They need to get out of the gate and not allow the Avalanche to hang around as long as they did in Game 5, losing 2-1, turning the series to 3-2 with two more to play unless the Preds win Sunday.

It will be a long, lost off-season if the Predators bow out of the playoffs in the first series, especially when a team of NHL expert prognosticators made the Predators a slam-dunk favorite against the Avalanche.

They need to live up to expectations while they have the opportunity.

Preds goalie Pekka Rinne is not getting any younger, but still has the ability to be known as one of the best goalies in the NHL. This is the fourth season Rinne is up for the Vezina Trophy.

P.K. Subban is a defenseman up for the Norris Trophy with three more defensemen. I see Subban as an offensive threat disguised as a defenseman. He often sets up goals and can fire a fastball past goalies from long distance.

The rest of the Predators’ roster contains a good mixture of youth and veterans that Coach Peter Laviolette can use and has used with desirable results.

But for now, time for talk is over.

Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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