Hockey season is over in Nashville as the Predators lose 5-3 to the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night (May 9).
This is the first time in franchise history that the Preds have been swept in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I thought our guys played a good game tonight,” said head coach John Hynes at a postgame press conference. “It was right there, but [the Avalanche] ended up scoring. We talked about wanting to build off of Game 3 and getting a win here tonight, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do it. Our guys had a hard fought game, but unfortunately it didn’t go the way we wanted.”
The Preds played one of their best games all series, tying up the game 1-1 after the first period and again at 2-2 after the second period, both scored by Yakov Trenin. However, their fight for survival wasn’t enough as the Colorado Avalanche’s speedy offense and suffocating defense stifled any chance for a Preds lead.
The Preds took a 3-2 lead in the third period off of a Filip Forsberg goal, but it didn’t last for long. The Avalanche bounced back quick, scoring the equalizer and the eventual game-winning point. Norris Trophy Finalist Cale Makar played a brilliant game scoring one goal and assisting two goals, including the game-winner and the empty-netter.
“Obviously, we wanted more in the playoffs,” Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholmin said postgame. “If you look at the regular season, there were a lot of guys that performed really well and broke their personal highs. If you could look back at training camp, there weren’t many [who] thought we would be in a playoff position. We certainly did that and we’re really proud and happy over that, but once you get [to the playoffs], you want more.”
Back-up goaltender Connor Ingram had 33 saves last night for Nashville after starting in Games 2 and 3. Ingram was called up from the organization’s AHL affiliate right before the playoffs and replaced David Rittich early in Game 1 which the Preds went on to lose 7-2. All-star goalie Juuse Saros was ruled out for all four games after sustaining an injury in late April right before the postseason.
“At the end of the day [the Avalanche has] a hell of a team back there,” Ekholm added. “I think they’re going to give problems to a lot of teams coming down the stretch here. Again, they deserved to win. Four to nothing speaks loudly.”
The Preds finish the season with a record of 45-30-7 with 97 points. Though they have made the postseason in each of the last eight seasons, Nashville has failed to reach the second round of the playoffs the past four seasons.
The next big discussion for the Predators will be whether or not to resign Forsberg whose contract expires this summer. The organization has expressed wanting to keep Forsberg but no deal has been announced.