Injuries left the Avalanche playing their backup to the backup goaltender while needing a victory to stave off elimination.
The goalie nicknamed the ”Hamburglar” came through.
Andrew Hammond made a career-high 44 saves for his first postseason victory Trey Burton Jerseyl , and Colorado rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday night and sent the first-round series back to Denver for Game 6.
”Obviously, it was a lot of fun,” said Hammond, who was mobbed in the locker room. ”We’re excited to have another game. We didn’t want this to be the last one of the season, and I think to a man, we all did whatever we could to make sure that wasn’t the case.”
This is the third time the Avalanche had trailed 3-1 in a series since moving to Colorado. They lost the first two but have a chance Sunday to push the defending Western Conference champs to a seventh game after rallying with two goals in the final 4:11.
They also became the first to win a playoff game in regulation when trailing in the final 5:00 of the third since Chicago won at Boston in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
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 Sven Andrighetto gave the Avs the lead off a rebound of a shot by J.T. Compher with 1:28 left that stunned a sold-out Nashville crowd that had expected to celebrate advancing to the second round.
”We’ve got a series again going home, and it’s going to be exciting,” Landeskog said. ”As we talked about before tonight, just to win one. We don’t have to win three in one night.”
This was not only Hammond’s first playoff victory, it was his first postseason start since April 17, 2015, with Ottawa and just the third of his career. He started only one game during the regular season after being traded to Colorado in November.
”You never know when you’re going to get a second chance Nick Vigil Jersey ,” 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.”
Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he loved Hammond’s demeanor since learning he would be starting.
”He’s waited a long time this year for this opportunity, and he’s making the most of it,” Bednar said.
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.
The Predators peppered Hammond, and the only time Nashville beat him 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 Pollock announced the call on the ice had been overturned , starting a long-awaited celebration.
The lead didn’t last long as the Avs rallied.
”It’s not like we didn’t have opportunities,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ”They did a pretty good job in front of him. We had lots of looks Jordan Akins Jersey , lots of opportunities. We couldn’t get in.”
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.
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.
NOTES: The Avalanche snapped a seven-game skid in Nashville with the win. They ended a 12-game skid to the Preds overall in Game 3. … Nashville had been perfect last postseason with a chance to clinch a series on its own ice, winning all three series to reach the Stanley Cup Final. … Predators forward Ryan Hartman sat out his suspension for a hit on Carl Soderberg in Game 4.
Game 6 in Denver on Sunday night.
One by one, the Milwaukee Brewers filed into an auditorium at Miller Park as reliever Josh Hader offered his latest apology for years-old tweets that surfaced during the All-Star Game.
Those racist, homophobic social-media messages were thoughtless mistakes he made as a teenager, Hader said. He sought to reassure fellow Brewers that the vile words didn’t represent the man he has become, one who has learned – in part because of baseball – to reject the language of bigotry.
His teammates had his back on Friday.
Fellow All-Stars Jesus Aguilar of Venezuela and Lorenzo Cain, who is African-American, were among those who stood directly behind Hader during a news conference about 90 minutes before the Brewers returned from the break by hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers.
”It’s amazing. It tells me that they have my back and that we are a true family Peyton Manning Jersey ,” Hader said about the show of solidarity.
Hader spoke to teammates earlier Friday in the clubhouse. Outfielder Brett Phillips said the reliever offered a sincere apology. Manager Craig Counsell described Hader as emotional and remorseful.
”I just want them to know that I’m sorry for what I did back in the day and the mistakes that I made,” Hader said, ”and that they are a family to me and that they (the tweets) aren’t me and what I meant.”
The 24-year-old Hader also apologized and took responsibility for the tweets after the All-Star Game, saying they did not reflect his values or the person he is now.
The tweets included uses of a slur used to disparage African-Americans and one that simply said ”KKK.”
Said Hader: ”They were never my beliefs. I was young. I was saying stuff out of just ignorance and that’s just not what I meant.”
Until Tuesday, Hader was best known as the hard-throwing left-hander in the Brewers’ strong bullpen. He has been a lights-out reliever since coming up to the majors in June 2017.
Hader’s 6-foot-3 frame, long hair and glasses gave him a unique look on the mound. A filthy fastball and knee-buckling slider allowed Hader to strike out 89 in just 48 innings.
Several of Hader’s tweets from 2011 and 2012 were unearthed Tuesday while he was pitching in the All-Star Game. Hader learned of the situation when he left the game.
MLB announced Wednesday that the commissioner’s office would require Hader to participate in diversity and inclusion initiatives in addition to sensitivity training.
A day filled with acts of contrition by Hader also included a meeting with Billy Bean, MLB’s vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. He described Hader as ”punishing himself more than probably anyone else could.”
”I was really convinced after a couple hours together today – much longer than we expected – that his experience as an athlete and a professional in an integrated, diverse environment has created the person that he is today,” Bean said.
”I believe that, much like many of our millennial youth, he just probably forgot about whatever that moment was in his adolescence,” Bean added.
The tweets stirred a range of emotions among some players who took part in an optional workout on Thursday that did not include the Brewers’ five All-Star representatives. Teammates voiced support while also saying they wanted to hear from Hader.
”Today was big for him. A sincere apology was needed and he did – you could tell in his voice that he’s very Nickell Robey-Coleman Jersey , very sorry,” said Phillips, Hader’s roommate for the past four years. They have lived together since their days in the Astros organization before being traded to the Brewers in 2015.
”Not once – not once – has he said any of those (things) behind closed doors to myself or to anyone who’s close with him. Looking at those tweets, he’s come a long way,” Phillips said. ”Obviously you can see the growth. If you believe that people can change for the worst, then you believe that they can change for the best.”
The next step for Hader is getting back on the mound. He didn’t pitch in Friday’s 6-4 loss.
It’s unclear what kind of reaction Hader might receive from the crowd whenever he does come in from the bullpen again.
”This isn’t me,” Hader said when asked if he had a message for fans. ”I hope that people who I’ve touched and came across, they know who I really am. I’ve made mistakes. I’m not perfect. I’ve grown as a person. Baseball really helped me grow.”
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