In the NHL playoffs, you can run into opponents or you can skate around them.
Dancing in the middle of those two propositions is disastrous. So many times we’ve seen teams be timid to deliver big hits but also timid to attack physical teams. The Avalanche are not the bruisers of lore. The NHL is different. There’s not a Chief (Chris Simon) or a Sheriff (Scott Parker) to regulate.
Perhaps there should be, if the NHL doesn’t recognize Ryan Johansen’s head-hunting hit on Tyson Barrie in the second, there should be someone to hold him to account.
Is Nolan Arenado available?
Either way, the Avs need to stand-up to these ‘Smashville’ bullies. The idea of out-skating them is daunting with the top line of Forsberg-Arvidsson-Johansen punishing mistakes. Getting into an up-and-down shootout with the Predators may not work to the Avalanche advantage.
It’s important the Avs establish themselves physically with the Predators.