In arguably the most entertaining game of the season, the Predators found a way to prevail once more.
Luke Kunin and Matt Duchene each scored twice – with Duchene’s second serving as the overtime winner – as Nashville defeated the Colorado Avalanche by a 5-4 final on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result extends Nashville’s win streak to five games and keeps them atop the Central Division and the Western Conference with 50 points in the standings.
Jeannot didn’t wait long – just 2:32 into the contest – to snap a shot from the slot past Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper and just barely over the goal line for a 1-0 lead. Then, with 56 seconds to play in the opening frame, Kunin gave Nashville a two-goal lead when he also scored from the slot for his first of the night.
Saros became the third goaltender in franchise history to reach the 20-win mark in 30 appearances or fewer, joining Pekka Rinne in 2014-15 (27 GP) and Tomas Vokoun in 2005-06 (30 GP).
The Predators reached the 50-point mark in 37 games or fewer for the fourth time in franchise history, following 2005-06 (34 GP; 24-7-3, 51 points), 2006-07 (36 GP; 24-9-3, 51 points) and 2014-15 (36 GP; 24-9-3, 51 points).
The calendar read Jan. 11, but Tuesday’s back-and-forth affair between two of the best in the West had a bit of a postseason feel nevertheless.
Hours earlier, the Preds were billing the meeting with the Avs as a “measuring-stick game,” a chance to see how they compared to a club many have picked as Stanley Cup favorites. The result was a highly entertaining night of hockey that went the home team’s way, much to the delight of the 17,159 who saw one heck of a showing.
“The big takeaways out of this game for me, I really liked our mindset to be able to start the game and the preparation, the competitive mindset that we had coming into the game,” Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. “We’re in a situation where they were able to tie it three times in the game, and you talk about the mental toughness and the resiliency and staying with it and understanding that these games, there’s going to be highs and lows, and I just liked our mindset. We just kept playing and doing the right things. These are tough games to be able to play in, and it’s one of the things we’ve talked with our team about is as we continue to move forward is trying to play our best against the best and finding different ways to win and really test ourselves, test our competitiveness, our structure, our mindset against the team like Colorado. And tonight we found a way to win.”