Predators' Ryan Hartman suspended for Friday's Game 5

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Hartman was assessed with a 2-minute minor for charging on the play.

Previous year on the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Predators were 3-1 in games where they could clinch a series.

After allowing the first goal on the first shot in each of the first two games and on the second shot in the Avalanche's 5-3 Game 3 win Monday night, the Predators left Colorado in the starting block this time. The President's Trophy-winning Preds overwhelmed the Avs from the first drop of the puck in Game 4, scoring the first three goals. Gabriel Landeskog scored his third of this series at 5:20 of the third and Alexander Kerfoot his second at 11:01 to make things interesting, but to no avail.

The Predators held on for a 3-2 win and now hold a 3-1 series lead.

Playoff news: Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey was suspended for one game by the National Hockey League for cross-checking Minnesota forward Eric Staal in the neck Tuesday.

Colton Sissons and Craig Smith also had goals for the hard-hitting Predators, who can close out the series Friday when it shifts back to Nashville for Game 5.

Hartman was whistled for holding, and furious about the call, he dropped his gloves and attacked Andrighetto, who did little except try to protect himself.

Hammond, 30, played in only one regular-season game in 2017-18, a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in March in which he saved 31 shots. The more games a team plays, the more chances someone could get injured.

The nail in the coffin was delivered when Nashville went up 3-0. Hammond stopped all eight shots he faced in his first playoff appearance since April 17, 2015, while with Ottawa. He took control of the puck at the Predators' blue line. They dominated the play for the majority of the first period. Because that run has not yet resulted in a Stanley Cup - and at times resulted in some crushing, premature postseason exits - they have usually been more of a playoff punchline than a celebrated success story for being a contender nearly every year.

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