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Sissons stepping up for Predators against Avalanche

Forward's two-way game has helped Nashville build lead in Western series

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Colton Sissons knows how to raise his game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Nashville Predators forward has five points (three goals, two assists) in four games against the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference First Round and 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his past 12 playoff games.

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Avalanche series coverage]

 

"I'm just doing my thing out there, honestly," Sissons said. "I'm just not overthinking things and just playing hard, and my teammates have been finding me in some dangerous areas and they're going in for me right now. Hopefully I can ride this out for a little longer."

Nashville leads the best-of-7 series 3-1 and can advance by winning Game 5 at home Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVAS, FS-TN, ALT).

Video: NSH@COL, Gm4: Sissons snaps shot past Bernier

Sissons had 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 81 games in the regular season, each an NHL career high. But his offensive output against the Avalanche isn't his first breakout playoff performance.

After Nashville centers Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher were injured ahead of Game 5 of the 2017 Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks, Sissons moved onto the top line. He responded with an assist in Game 5 and a hat trick in Game 6 to help Nashville advance to its first Stanley Cup Final.

"Some players get in the big moments and they shine," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's certainly proven to be one of those players. He's stepped up for us in a lot of different ways. Different positions, different ways, defensively, offensively. He's off to a great start."

The Predators have trusted Sissons in a variety of situations this season. He plays on the second power-play unit with Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala, can kill penalties, help protect leads near the end of a game, and can play center or wing.

Against the Avalanche, Sissons has played on a line with Nick Bonino and Austin Watson which has at times been relied on to defend Colorado's top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen

"He's such an underrated player," Johansen said. "He's a huge part of our team. His versatility as a player, he plays in all situations, both ends of the rink. He's such an intelligent hockey player. It really comes out at this time of year. He does all of the little things right, and he always shines in the big moments."

Nashville has scored at least three goals in each game against Colorado. Its balanced scoring has been a key, and Sissons' five points are tied with Watson, Johansen and Filip Forsberg for most on the Predators.

"[Sissons has] just cranked his game up," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "He had a great regular season this year. An increased role obviously helped as well. He's a big-game player. He steps up when we need him and he does little things really well, and that goes a long way in playoff hockey."

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: Sissons taps home Josi's great pass

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