Gameday: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche, 3/30/13

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

at COLORADO AVALANCHE

March 30th, 2013
Pepsi Center
Denver, Colorado
2:00 p.m. CDT
TV: FOX Sports Tennessee
Colorado leads season series 1-0

The Nashville Predators played the Colorado Avalanche one time in February, a 6-5 loss that sent the Preds spiraling for weeks into their current mess.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

(14-14-6, 5th in Central)

Nashville’s hopes of making the playoffs were dealt a serious blow when they lost 7-4 to Phoenix on Thursday night. With so little room for error, a loss against the Conference-worst Avalanche today would make an already unlikely task nearly impossible.

Key players

NHL: Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets

Martin Erat will be without his partner-in-scoring, Mike Fisher, in today’s game. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Martin Erat (4G-17A) has been on a tear lately, putting up eight points in the last four games. All that production has come playing alongside Mike Fisher (9G-10A), who won’t be playing today after blocking a shot with his hand late in Thursday’s game. If Erat can’t maintain his level of performance without Fish, the Preds will have to depend on the lower lines for production.

Captain Shea Weber (7G-13A) scored another goal on Thursday night as the Preds were trying to mount a comeback against the Coyotes. He now has 19 points in his last 21 games. If anybody is doing everything he can on the ice to ensure Nashville’s success, it’s Weber.

Others to watch

Whatever happened to Pekka Rinne (13-10-5, 2.39 GAA, .908 SV%)? He used to be such a happy-go-lucky, dominant goalie. Maybe that’s because the penalty kill hadn’t hung him out to dry yet.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

(11-18-4, 5th in Northwest)

Giving up 3.24 goals per game in today’s NHL is a ticket to a high draft pick. If it weren’t for that stupid lottery, the only competition the Colorado Avalanche would have for the #1 pick would be the equally awful Florida Panthers.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Colorado Avalanche

Duchene + Parenteau = offense. (PHOTO: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Key players

P.A. Parenteau (14G-20A) has been one of the few points of pride on an otherwise terrible Colorado team. Together with Matt Duchene (13G-20A) – he of the offside goal back in February – he has helped to make sure the goals keep coming regardless of whether the Avs can stop the other team from putting pucks in the net.

Others to watch

Semyon Varlamov (9-16-3, 3.04, .902) has definitely earned his paycheck this season – if not for the quality of his work then definitely for the quantity. He faces 29.85 shots per game, more than any other starter in the NHL except Buffalo’s Ryan Miller and Washington’s Braden Holtby.

Bottom line

Colorado isn’t just a team that the Nashville Predators should beat – they’re a team that any playoff-calibre team should beat. That the Preds lost once to them already this season is bad enough. Losing again would be all but closing the door on Nashville’s playoff hopes.

Topics: Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators

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