In hockey, there’s nothing more deflating than surrendering a goal in the final two minutes of the third period, then calling it quits after an empty netter as time expires. The entire 2013 season has been an empty-net goal for the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado was able to do something against the Nashville Predators that they haven’t been able to do all season long: score first. With the game scoreless for the first two periods, Avalanche forward Matt Duchene grabbed the lead after just over one minute of play in the third. Duchene cut through the Nashville blue line to score his 15th of the season. Nashville got even midway through the period, and finished off the Avs to earn a 3-1 win at home.
Nashville’s win gives them 38 points on the season and moves them one step closer to earning a playoff spot in the ever-tight Western Conference. The Predators are now tied with the St. Louis Blues for the final spot in the Western Conference.
Unlike the Predators, Colorado isn’t playing for a playoff spot this season, they’re playing for pride. Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne evaporated that pride by saving 26 of 27 shots for a .962 save percentage. Rinne’s leadership in net is just what the Predators need to secure the eighth spot in the west, and dominate in the playoffs.
If only Nashville could play the Avalanche every night.
John Engel is a Pac-12 college basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.