Kiszla: Nathan MacKinnon and Avs expose Nashville as great pretenders in quest for Stanley Cup

Nathan MacKinnon and the gritty little Avalanche have done the rest of the NHL a favor, revealing the Nashville Predators as great pretenders in the chase for the Stanley Cup.

The truth came from on high, shouted from the last row of Section 334 in the Pepsi Center.

“No Stanley Cups! No Stanley Cups! No Stanley Cups!”

It was a chant started by die-hard Avalanche fans Luke Hutchinson and Nick Tremaroli, directed at Nashville’s embarrassing lack of hockey pedigree. I think these guys are on to something, don’t you?

Nashville joined the NHL in 1998, as part of commissioner Gary Bettman’s grand plan to expand a sport covered in wintry tradition to cities that freak out at the sight of a single snowflake.

How many championships has Nashville won? Zero.

Nothing is going to change in 2018.

The truth is as hard to deny as the final score: Avalanche 5, Pretenders 3.

Or did you miss how the Avs got under the skin of the big, bad dudes wearing the dandelion yellow sweaters? Colorado peppered the net with pucks until Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne ran and ducked for cover in the safety of the visitors dressing room.

“In my opinion, we’ve been the better team five-on-five,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said.

Hard to argue.

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It’s a series now. The Avs have made the Pretenders grumpy. Or did you miss the cheap shot Nashville defender P.K. Subban gave to the noggin of MacKinnon late in the second period?

“Some of their guys, that’s they way they want to play,” Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog said. “They want to play after whistles, not in between. And we’re just the opposite.”

Perhaps Subban thinks the best way to get in the head of MacKinnon is with a sucker punch. Nashville, it seems, might have even more than fake tough guys than fake cowboys.

Stay classy, Smurfville.

In three games against Nashville, MacKinnon has generated three goals and two assists. MacKinnon is the league MVP; he has the Hart Trophy in his back pocket.

If they’re Predators, MacKinnon is Schwarzenegger.

“He’s just so explosive at home. He’s dangerous every time he touches the puck at home,” Bednar said.

And for two periods, as the Avalanche built a 4-1 lead, how great was Nate?

“He was dominant,” Bednar said. .

Try as …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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