The Nashville Predators went into Saturday night’s contest knowing they had already secured fourth spot in the Western Conference standings and home ice in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
While the game had no meaning in terms of the standings, the Predators came out strong offensively and beat the Colorado Avalanche by a 6-1 score, despite allowing 45 shots on goal.
Anders Lindback got the start for Nashville and the entire first line of Mike Fisher, Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn were scratches for the Predators. The older players on the blue line, Hal Gill and Francis Bouillon, also got the night off while Jack Hillen and Ryan Ellis returned to the lineup in their place.
Matt Halischuk, Brandon Yip, Jordin Tootoo, Colin Wilson, and Craig Smith, all players that have been scratches down the stretch were in the lineup fighting for roster spots heading into the playoffs.
Smith, Yip, and Halischuk made it count as all three depth forwards picked up goals for Nashville.
David Legwand opened scoring for the Predators picking up his 19th goal of the season just 3:39 into the first period. Gabriel Bourque and Alexander Radulov picked up the assists.
Colorado’s Matt Duchene tied the game just under 5 minutes later, but the Predators would go on to score five unanswered goals, including two more before the end of the opening frame.
Craig Smith picked up his 14th goal of the season at 12:10 into the first period and Patric Hornqvist scored his 27th goal of the season beating Avalanche netminder J.S. Giguere with only one second remaining on the clock.
Roman Josi made it a 4-1 game with only 3:51 left in the middle frame. It was Josi’s fifth goal of the season. Smith and Wilson picked up the helpers.
Halischuk and Yip added two goals in the third period for Nashville. Yip was claimed off waivers by the Predators from Colorado on January 19th of this year. In two games against his former team, Yip has scored two goals.
Lindback won his fifth game of the season and was named the number one star of the game, but had to leave early in the third period. Lindback and Cody McLeod of the Avalanche collided and Lindback fell down, then Ellis fell on top of the head and shoulder area of Lindback while he was laying in the crease. While in goal, Lindback faced 35 shots, stopping all but one.
Pekka Rinne stopped all 10 shots that he faced in the 17:46 of ice time he saw in replace of Lindback.
The Predators end the regular season with a 48-26-8 record for 104 points.
The first round of the playoffs will begin on Wednesday, April 11th. The official schedule for round one will be announced on Sunday at noon CDT.