Shut Down MacKinnon
Simply put, the Colorado Avalanche live and die with Nathan MacKinnon. That’s no secret.
All offense runs through him, as he scored 39 goals and finished with 97 points this season. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog are both very capable scorers, tallying 29 and 25 goals respectively, however without MacKinnon, they have no spark.
He’s one of the fastest players in the NHL, and can score from any and everywhere on the ice.
He’s having an MVP-caliber season and was a problem for Nashville in their four regular-season meetings. In almost 21 minutes on ice per game vs Nashville, MacKinnon scored 2 goals and added an assist.
However, Nashville was able to expose him as a defender, as he finished with a -6 rating in those 4 games. That being said, even if he scores, Nashville has shown the ability to neutralize his playmaking, with some of their own.
After MacKinnon and his line, production drops off tremendously for Colorado. The next highest scoring forward is Alexander Kerfoot with 19 goals and 43 points.
Bottom line, Nashville has to shut down Nathan MacKinnon if they want to win this series. If he isn’t a factor, I think the Predators can win this series easily.