Your Nashville Predators take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight at 8:30 CST at the Pepsi Center. Let’s see how these teams stack up.
- Predators 7-5-2 (16 pts) 5th in the Central
- Avalanche 12-1-0 (24 pts) 1st in the Central, and the NHL for that matter.
- Predators 2-2-1
- Avalanche 5-0-0
- Goals per game – Preds 2.2 (24th) - Avalanche 3.2 (4th)
- Goals against – Preds 2.7 (15th) – Avalanche 1.5 (1st)
- Power Play % – Preds 20.9 (10th) – Avalanche 19.0 (14th)
- Penalty Kill % – Preds 79.6 (21st) – Avalanche 90.9 (2nd)
The Avalanche continue to ride new Head Coach Patrick Roy to the league’s best record. The Avalanche have a ton of young offensive talent that has really gelled this season. Matt Duchene leads the team in points and has played a big part in the Avalanche’s early season success. 2013 First overall pick and Calder Trophy candidate, Nathan MacKinnon has made the transition to the NHL look easy. He has nine points in thirteen games and is averaging almost fourteen minutes a night. The power play is full of offensive talent and is a little less succesful than might be expected from this group. Nashville will need to be sure it stays out of the box and does not allow the Avalanche power play too many opportunities.
The Avalanche have seen great goaltending this season and one has to believe the addition of Roy as coach has impacted that position. There is a little concern in that position now with the recent legal issues for Semyon Varlamov, but Roy has allowed him to continue playing while it is investigated further. Then again, the whole Varlamov incident might just be a huge conspiracy to help Canada at the upcoming Olympics, or maybe not. Roy has been playing both goaltenders, and it looks like Varlamov will get the start tonight against Hutton.
The Preds will continue to rely on strong play from their own Calder Trophy Candidate. Seth Jones continues to lead NHL rookies in time on ice, including a season high 30:18 against the Phoenix Coyotes to start the road trip. David Legwand has been the hot hand lately up front and will need to keep scoring goals if the Preds want to be succesful in Colorado. Mike Fisher and Matt Hendricks are both still listed as doubtful for tonight’s game. Hendricks has returned to the team and skated in practice today, but it is not clear if he will play yet. In any event, the extra available ice time could open up a couple more minutes for Stalberg with more offensive-minded teammates. Stalberg is a guy that needs to get going for the Preds to be successful this season. So far, he has no points in eight games and is a minus 2.
Prediction – Nashville 2-1 in OT. Stalberg gets his first point of the season in regulation and Legwand gets the winner.