Predators take 2-0 lead after holding off Avalanche
Sharks, Bruins, Lightning also win Saturday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ryan Hartman got a bit nervous with the puck so close to the empty net after a shot by P.K. Subban. The Nashville forward wound up with not only the first playoff goal of his career but the winner with 1:09 left as the Predators held off the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 Saturday for a 2-0 lead in their first-round Western Conference series.
Hartman’s goal gave the Predators a 5-3 lead until Alexander Kerfoot pulled Colorado to 5-4 with 35.8 seconds left. But the Avalanche couldn’t get another puck past goalie Pekka Rinne.
“I knew he made a shot toward the net, and I just wanted to be there in case he missed the net to beat out the icing,” Hartman said. “Sometimes those pucks don’t bounce far enough to the front of the net, luckily it did. Those are the ones you get nervous about, the ones that are laying right there. You just want to make sure you put it in.”
The Presidents’ Trophy winners gave up a goal on Colorado’s first shot for a second straight game. Yet the Predators rallied again to take their first 2-0 lead when starting a best-of-seven series in their own building.
“It was nice to start here for sure in front of our fans, and it was nice to get the job done,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We did what we’re supposed to do. Now we got to go on the road and do what I said, you got to win some road games along the way too.”
Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist, and Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Austin Watson scored a goal apiece. P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm each had two assists for Nashville, which has won 12 straight over the Avalanche.
“It’s fun playing in this building,” Watson said. “It’s tough to come in here as an opposing team. For us to be able to hold up our end of the bargain and get the two wins is great.” Rinne made 26 saves for the win. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, and Gabriel Bourque and Gabriel Landeskog each added a goal for Colorado.
Game 3 is Monday night in Denver.
“We’re going to go put our best foot forward,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “To me, if we would clean up a couple of mistakes, we win that hockey game. That’s the way I look at it. We’re certainly capable of doing it.”
Nashville struggled early yet again despite having country star Brad Paisley singing the national anthem and wrestler Jeff Jarrett revving up the fans before the game.
Bourque put Colorado up 1-0 on the Avs’ first shot 2:34 into the game after a turnover in the defen-