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game recap

Forsberg, Predators defeat Avalanche in Game 1

Forward scores highlight-reel goal in third period in Western series opener

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Filip Forsberg scored two goals in the third period in a 5-2 win for the Nashville Predators against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is here Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CNBC, SNW, SNP, TVAS).

Trailing 2-1, Nashville scored four unanswered goals, beginning with Craig Smith at 8:50 of the second period. Austin Watson and Colton Sissons also scored, and Pekka Rinne made 25 saves.

 

[WATCH: Avalanche vs. Predators highlights | Complete Predators vs. Avalanche series coverage]

 

"We hadn't played our best hockey in the first two periods," Forsberg said. "We just wanted to push. They did a good job of playing us hard in the first two, and I don't think just that third period push was a good enough game."

Nikita Zadorov and Blake Comeau scored, and Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves for Colorado.

"We've got a lot of heart, and I think we played hard tonight," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "We played really hard. I think we had a real good start coming in here. They had a couple plays and times in the game when they pushed, and I felt like we pushed back. We missed on a couple of our real good opportunities."

Forsberg gave the Predators a 3-2 lead at 6:08 of the third when he redirected a Roman Josi shot from the point.

Video: COL@NSH, Gm1: Forsberg redirects Josi's shot

Forsberg made it 4-2 at 12:10 with a highlight-reel goal. He put the puck between his legs, then through the legs of Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard before shooting inside the far post.

"Yeah," Forsberg said when asked if he planned the move. "Just one of those that comes up, I guess, when you're skating, and it worked."

Zadorov gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead 6:36 into the first period on a shot on the rush off a drop pass from Mikko Rantanen.

"I'm happy with the way we played," Bednar said. "I felt like we did enough to almost earn a better result, but now we're going to have to go and dig in even harder and make sure we earn the right result. We're capable."

Video: COL@NSH, Gm1: Zadorov whips wrister past Rinne

Watson tied it 1-1 at 3:16 of the second period on a shot from the right face-off circle.

"We got better by every period, so that was good," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's not that we started poorly. We came out and were trying to do the right things, and they scored a goal off of a screen off the rush. It lets a little bit of the air out of the building, and you've got to work from there."

Comeau made it 2-1 at 4:51 on a redirection off a shot by Carl Soderberg.

Video: COL@NSH, Gm1: Comeau beats Rinne with redirection

Smith tied the game 2-2 at 8:50 on the power play off a pass from Ryan Johansen.

Sissons scored an empty-net goal with 1:57 remaining in the third period for a 5-2 advantage.

"We just wanted to get better," Sissons said. "We didn't love our game. We were turning some pucks over and not executing all that well. I do think our best period was the third by far."

 

Goal of the game

Smith's goal at 8:50 of the second period.

Video: COL@NSH, Gm1: Smith pots Johansen's feed for PPG

 

Save of the game

Rinne's save on Rantanen at 17:34 of the second period.

Video: COL@NSH, Gm1: Rinne stretches to deny Rantanen

 

Highlight of the game

Forsberg's goal at 12:10 of the third period.

Video: COL@NSH, Gm1: Forsberg scores on unbelievable move

 

They said it

"I think we played a good game. I think we played a really good 40 minutes, and then they got that goal, kind of a lucky bounce off of Forsberg. These guys are really good with a lead in the third period so that's unfortunate, but I thought we gave ourselves a chance tonight to have the lead for a big part of the game." -- Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie

 

"I see that kind of stuff in practice all the time. I'm just pulling pucks out of my net. Beautiful goal. You think, the first game of the playoffs and he's able to pull those moves off and finish the play. Great individual effort and to me, that's the goal that sealed the deal tonight." -- Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne on Filip Forsberg's second goal

 

Need to know

Forsberg has 28 Stanley Cup Playoff points (17 goals, 11 assists) to tie Shea Weber (13 goals, 15 assists) and David Legwand (13 goals, 15 assists) for most in Predators history. … Forsberg has five goals in his past two games. He had a hat trick in the final game of the regular season. … Rinne won his 37th NHL playoff game to break a tie with Antti Niemi for most playoff wins by a Finland-born goalie. … Colorado's top line of Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog were a combined minus-6.

 

What's next

Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CNBC, SNW, SNP, TVAS)

 

Video: Forsberg's two goals lead Predators to 5-2 Game 1 win

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