Sven Andrighetto scored with 1:28 left to give the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 victory over Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday night, sending the first-round series back to Denver for Game 6.
This is the third time the Avalanche had trailed 3-1 in a series since the franchise relocated to Colorado. They lost the first two, but will have a chance Sunday to push this series to a seventh game after rallying with two goals in the final 4:11.
Gabriel Landeskog started the rally with his goal into an empty net with Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne caught outside the crease with his own teammate Ryan Ellis in his lap. Then Andrighetto gave the Avs the lead off a rebound of a shot by J.T. Compher that stunned a sold-out Nashville crowd that had expected to celebrate advancing to the second round.
Andrew Hammond made a career-high 44 saves for his first postseason victory in his first playoff start since April 17, 2015, with Ottawa and just the third of his career.
“It’s one of those things I’ve learned in my career: You never know when you’re going to get a second chance,” Hammond said. “I’ve played two games basically since the start of January — at times it felt as though that day would never come again when you’re going to play again. You keep battling in practice, you stick to the process, when you get your chance, you’re ready.”
The series winner will face Winnipeg in the second round.
Nick Bonino scored for Nashville.
This game was scoreless until Bonino’s goal with 9:42 left, a big change for a series that had been the highest-scoring of the first round averaging 7.25 goals per game coming into Game 5. But the goalie nicknamed the “Hamburglar” came through with a dazzling performance for his first postseason victory.
The Predators peppered the Avs’ backup to their backup goalie. The only time Nashville beat Hammond was when Mattias Ekholm’s shot bounced off his left pad and went in off Bonino’s right skate. The official on the spot immediately waved it off. Officials huddled, then reviewed the play.
During the review, fans sang “Let It Be” while holding up their cellphones with the flash on. Referee Kevin Pollack announced the call on the ice had been overturned, starting a long-awaited celebration.
The lead didn’t last long as Landeskog tapped the puck into an open net off a feed from Nathan MacKinnon.
The Avalanche came into the postseason with goalie Semyon Varlamov and defenseman Erik Johnson sidelined by knee injuries, then defenseman Samuel Girard missed three games with his own upper-body injury before Jonathan Bernier, Varlamov’s backup, suffered his own lower-body injury. That pushed the Hamburglar into the net.
Nashville countered with its usual catfish on the ice before the puck dropped and the members of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans secondary waving the rally towel for fans.
The Predators started and ended the second period on the power play but couldn’t beat Hammond. Their best scoring chance came with a 4 on 2, but Hammond stopped Roman Josi’s shot and then handled Calle Jarnkrok’s attempt off the rebound at 12:36. Hammond also made a big pad save on Ellis’ slap shot and then stopped another Josi shot late in the period.
Jets stomp on Wild 5-0 to advance to second round
Jacob Trouba, Bryan Little, Brandon Tanev and Joel Armia scored in the first 11:59 to chase Minnesota goalie Devan Dubynk and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Wild 5-0 on Friday night to win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.
Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his second shutout of the series, and Mark Scheifele added a goal in the third to help the Jets finish off the Wild in five games. Winnipeg will face the winner of the Nashville-Colorado series in the second round.
The white-clad crowd of 15,321 at Bell MTS Place stood and began cheering and waving white towels with just over two minutes remaining. A similar-size crowd was outside watching on giant screens at a “whiteout” street party.
Winnipeg’s previous post-season appearance was a sweep by Anaheim in 2015. The franchise moved from Atlanta in 2011. The Thrashers started in 1999-2000, with their only playoff series ending in four straight losses to the New York Rangers in 2007. The series came 31 years after the original Jets last won a series before the team moved to Arizona.
The Jets attacked the Wild quickly, scoring four goals on their first 10 shots.
Trouba scored 31 seconds in, and Little, Tanev and Armia followed quickly.
Alex Stalock stopped 15 of the 16 shots in relief of Dubynk.
Scheifele scored his fourth goal of the series 32 seconds into the third with a one-timer on the power play.
The Wild were making their sixth straight appearance in the postseason. They only got as far as the second round in 2014 and `15, when Chicago knocked them out both years.
Flyers beat Penguins 4-2 to force Game 6
Sean Couturier’s long shot from the point got past Matt Murray with 1:17 left and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Friday night to force sixth game in the first-round series.
The Flyers cut the Penguins’ series lead to 3-2 going into Game 6 on Sunday in Philadelphia.
After missing Game 4 with a lower-body injury, Couturier extended his team’s season at least two more days by picking up his second goal of the series. Claude Giroux, Valtteri Filppula and Matt Read also scored for the Flyers. Michal Neuvirth stopped 30 shots, including a diving stop on the doorstep to deny Penguins star Sidney Crosby shortly after Couturier’s knuckler put Philadelphia in front.
Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust scored for the Penguins. Matt Murray made 21 saves but had no chance on Couturier’s winner as the puck found its way through a sea of players and into the net.
A series that figured to be taut instead started with four straight blowouts, most of them ending with the Flyers skating off the ice wondering what they needed to do to keep pace with cross-state rivals.
Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol, perhaps fighting for his job, made his first significant change in an effort to keep his team’s season alive, giving Neuvirth his first playoff start in nearly two years and his first start of any variety in more than two months after Brian Elliott couldn’t shake out of a funk that saw him pulled in Game 1 and again in Game 4.
The Flyers also Couturier back to center the third line just three days removed from a scary practice collision with teammate Radko Judas that left Courtier with a lower-body injury that forced him to watch Pittsburgh’s clinical 5-0 Game 4 romp from the press box.
There was no need for change in Pittsburgh, which has developed a killer instinct under coach Mike Sullivan it lacked at times earlier in the Crosby/Malkin era. The Penguins came in 8-5 in potential close-out games since Sullivan took over in December, 2015, including a 5-2 mark at home.
Make it 5-3.
Giroux, a non-factor through much of the series, gave Philadelphia the lead 17:29 into the first when he found some space in the slot and took a pretty feed from behind the Pittsburgh ned by Jakub Voracek to pump a shot by Murray.
The Penguins replied with two goals in a 4:45 span in the second for the first lead change of the series. Bryan Rust beat Neuvirth with a wrap around 12 minutes into the second for his ninth career goal in a potential elimination game. Guentzel then took a feed from Crosby and slipped it between Neuvirth’s legs to put Pittsburgh in front.
The Flyers, for the first time since Game 2, responded. Some sloppy play by Pittsburgh’s top power-play unit led to a turnover and a rush the other way that ended with Filppula sneaking a bouncing puck through Murray’s five-hole to knot the score and two and produce actual late tension heading into the third, a rarity.