The streaking Colorado Avalanche suffered their second loss of the season Saturday. The Nashville Predators look to hand them a third on Tuesday night.
The Nashville Predators face their third divisional opponent of the season on Tuesday night as they battle the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone. Colorado comes into the match up off a 1-3 loss to the Dallas Stars. Nashville has hopes of rebounding after a crushing 2-1 overtime defeat against the Chicago Black Hawks.
The conditions seem favorable for a hotly contested joust between two embattled opponents. Last season, the two met five times in games that saw a rather one-sided affair. The Predators swept the season series five games to none. Tuesday’s game is the first of four meetings this year.
Weather Report: Avalanche Gaining Steam
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The Colorado Avalanche finished with a dismal 22-56-4 record last season. Additionally, a disappointing NHL draft lottery left the worst team in hockey out of the top three picks. To top it all off, GM Joe Sakic hardly made news during the off-season. Top additions include former Predators’ forward Colin Wilson, free agent forward Nail Yakupov, and free agent goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
Despite the evidence pointing to another trivial season, the Avalanche roared to a four and one start before losing a second game Saturday to Dallas. Sven Andrighetto leads the team with six points. Matt Duchene, a forward who former Nashville Predator Peter Forsberg noted the Avalanche should “bench and trade”, shares the lead at six points and looks like his former self. Additionally, goaltender Semyon Varlamov boasts a .944 save percentage on the back-end.
The teams falling to the Avalanche include the Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, and Boston Bruins. Significantly, all three were 2017 play off teams. The Avalanche, it would seem, have forgotten the woes of yesteryear.
The Nashville Predators return to home ice Tuesday night with the haunting memory of an overtime loss to divisional rival Chicago. Though many have resorted to the denegation of the way the game played out, the Predators need to review the breakdowns and make adjustments.
Colorado emulates the Chicago style of play and their pace has quickened from last season. The team moves the puck well and creates space for themselves upon entering the zone. Nashville has to close the gaps quicker than they did on Saturday to have success against Colorado. There can be no messing around for this contest.
Injuries to the defensive corps have also revealed weak points that the Predators must overcome. The Nashville Predators squad allowed a combined 13 goals against in its first three games. However, the squad has given up just three in the past two contests. The coaching staff hopes that trend continues.
Filip Forsberg continues to impress and is tied with P.K. Subban for the team lead in points with seven. Forward Nick Bonino may not go for the game due to a lower body injury. In a bit of positive injury news Roman Josi looks to return from injury and lead the first defensive pairing.
Here are the projected lines for the Nashville Predators:
Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Scott Hartnell – Kevin Fiala – Craig Smith
Colton Sissons – Calle Jarnkrok – Pontus Aberg
Cody McLeod – Austin Watson – Mikka Salomaki
Roman Josi – Matt Irwin / Anthony Bitetto
Alexei Emelin – P.K. Subban
Mattias Ekholm – Samuel Girard
Follow the Game
Television coverage begins with Predators Live Pregame at 6:30 p.m. CT with the puck drop at 7:00 p.m. on Fox Sports Tennessee. The game can also be heard on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network.