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Predators put it all together to eliminate Avalanche in Game 6

Dominate from start, advance to second round

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

DENVER -- The Nashville Predators played pretty good hockey for most of the Western Conference First Round against the Colorado Avalanche. But that complete game, the one that was evident many times on their run to an NHL-best 117 points and the Presidents' Trophy in the regular season, eluded them.

They got it Sunday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Avalanche series coverage]

 

Nick Bonino had a goal and two assists, and the Predators eliminated the Avalanche with a 5-0 win in Game 6 at Pepsi Center. Nashville will play the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette said they played some imperfect hockey in the series, but he gave the Avalanche credit for making things tough on them.

"There were times we could've played better," Laviolette said. "Sometimes Colorado had a hand in that, that we didn't play to our potential. That's what happens in playoff hockey. It'd be nice to play 60 minutes from start to finish the way you want, but usually the opposition has something to say about that."

Video: NSH@COL, Gm6: Rinne talks great start in series win

Previous games in this series were close -- three of them were decided by one goal -- but Game 6 wasn't. The third line of Bonino, Colton Sissons (two assists) and Austin Watson (goal) led the way with six points for Nashville, which was dominant from the start.

"As a group, that's the first full 60 minutes we played in the series," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "For whatever reason, we struggled to put together a full 60 but down the stretch, we got better and better as the series went on. When we needed to be our best, we've done what we've done all year and that's play a full 60. From the goaltender on out, everybody deserves a lot of credit for their efforts."

Pekka Rinne made 22 saves his fourth NHL playoff shutout.

"Defensively, from my standpoint, that was the best game we played this series," Rinne said. "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."

The Predators said they learned more about the Avalanche as the series went on and tried to apply lessons in ensuing games. That included Game 5, when Colorado scored two goals in the final 4:11 of the third period to win 2-1 and force Game 6. 

"Obviously we'd like to finish as soon as we can," Bonino said. "But we learned from Game 5. We looked at it, we had some pretty good meetings at the hotel yesterday. We came in confident and played a full 60. When you're playing a full 60 in the playoffs with as good a team we have, usually there'll be success."

Now it's on to the Jets. Nashville went 3-1-1 against them in the regular season and is looking for its Game 6 performance to carry over into the second round.

"It's great to have confidence," Bonino said. "When you win a series, you're feeling good. The way we did it, 60 minutes, pretty much. We're going to be as confident as we can against Winnipeg but we know how good they are, too." 

The Predators showed how good they are in Game 6. 

"It's good to be out of the first round," 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."

Video: NSH@COL, Gm6: Laviolette on team's play in series win

 

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Complete Coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Predators vs. Avalanche

Jets vs. Wild

Golden Knights vs. Kings

Ducks vs. Sharks

Lightning vs. Devils

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

Capitals vs. Blue Jackets

Penguins vs. Flyers

 

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