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game recap

Predators shut out Avalanche in Game 6, advance to second round

Rinne makes 22 saves to clinch Western series; will face Jets next

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- The Nashville Predators advanced to the Western Conference Second Round with a 5-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the first round at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

Pekka Rinne made 22 saves for the Predators, who will play the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.

Viktor Arvidsson, Nick Bonino, Filip Forsberg, Austin Watson and Mattias Ekholm scored for Nashville, which won the Presidents' Trophy this season with 117 points (53-18-11).

 

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

 

"I always think it's great to get out of the first round," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's tough, there's that pressure to move on and get into the last eight teams. We're finally past that, which is a good thing."

Andrew Hammond made 32 saves for Colorado.

"It's disappointing because we showed what we can do when we're battling from behind and when our season was on the line last game," Hammond said. "But unfortunately tonight, we weren't able to repeat that."

Video: #ThirstForTheCup: Predators advance to Second Round

The Predators took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Ekholm and Watson.

"Great game, great team effort," said Rinne, who earned the fourth playoff shutout of his NHL career. "We didn't give them any life. Great first period. Obviously the first two goals, going up 2-0 after the first, that was huge for us."

Colton Sissons passed across to Ekholm in the left face-off circle for a shot past a screened Hammond at 7:02 to make it 1-0. It was the first goal by a Predators defenseman in the series.

Watson made it 2-0 at 10:19. Bonino, who had two assists, gained possession in the left corner after an Avalanche turnover and passed to Sissons, who skated through the slot as Nathan MacKinnon got tangled with Hammond, who scrambled along the ice. Sissons shot through the crease off the left post and Watson banged in the loose puck.

Forsberg scored 38 seconds into the second period to make it 3-0. He skated down the left wing on a 2-on-1 rush and shot between Hammond's left arm and body.

Bonino made it 4-0 when he scored from the top of the slot at 8:26 of the second with a shot that went in off Hammond's blocker 13 seconds after the Avalanche killed a penalty.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm6: Arvidsson shows off speed for nice goal

"We continued to play the way we started the game in the second," Rinne said. "Another two goals and in the third, we didn't let up, kept going. We didn't give them any life. Defensively and from my standpoint, that was the best game we've played this series.

"I think we knew coming in, trying to close out the series, it's always demanding and difficult to do. I thought we did an amazing job."

Arvidsson made it 5-0 at 2:36 of the third period.

"I think that was our best game from start to finish," Watson said. "Obviously with a little bit of a lead in the third period, it's hard not to sit back a little bit. Right away, from the start of the game until the finish of it, we had a really strong effort.

"That's good for us going forward, to be able to take the last game of this series and carry that into how we want to play in the next one."

The Avalanche's top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen combined for five shots and was minus-9.

"Good series, tonight was tough," said MacKinnon, who had one shot and was minus-3. "I thought we came out with some jump and then they scored two quick goals and it just deflated us, and they got one early in the second that made it 3-0 and kind of ruined our momentum. Obviously, tonight was pretty bad."

Video: NSH@COL, Gm6: Bonino scores off Jarnkrok's pass

 

Goal of the game

Ekholm's goal at 7:02 of the first period.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm6: Ekholm hammers slap shot past Hammond

 

Save of the game

Rinne against Gabriel Bourque at 3:35 of the second period.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm6: Rinne blockers away Bourque's wrister

 

Highlight of the game

Forsberg's goal 38 seconds into the second period.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm6: Forsberg converts on odd-man rush

 

They said it

"It was a good test for us. These guys have been flying around for six games, playing really fast hockey. We've been trying to play as fast as we can as well. If we can bring that speed into the next round, that will be good." -- Predators forward Filip Forsberg

 

"I'm proud of this team, what they accomplished, how hard they worked all year, how coachable they were. Great group, fun to coach. They were respectful, responsive, hard working, a real close-knit group from Day One. Great leadership, it was a good season, a fun season. Especially for a lot of our guys who went through probably their worst season, myself included, last year to respond and have a season like this." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

 

Need to know

Rinne's 40th playoff win moved him past Nikolai Khabibulin and into a tie with Gump Worsley for 26th place on the NHL's all-time list. … Watson (four goals, three assists) and Sissons (three goals, four assists) each had seven points in the series. … The Avalanche lost consecutive games at Pepsi Center for the first time since a three-game losing streak Dec. 1-5.

 

What's next

Predators: Game 1 of Western Conference Second Round against the Winnipeg Jets, TBD

Avalanche: Season over

 

Video: Preds shut out Avs in Game 6, advance to second round

 

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