Nathan MacKinnon and Filip Forsberg are the best forwards, respectively on the Predators and Avalanche.
Ultimately, the matchup could come down to the Avs young Center versus the Preds wing. Forsberg drew first blood with two goals. One, a highlight-reel dance up the middle and made-to-look-easy shot, would notch the go-ahead goal for the Nashville team.
MacKinnon had a subpar game. He had 3 shots and an assist but finished (-2) for the night. It seemed like Mac couldn’t find any space, couldn’t get comfortable.
Also of note, linemate Gabriel Landeskog won 71% of his faceoffs while Mac won only 27%. One of the Colorado team’s shortcomings this year was faceoffs. In the playoffs, defensive zone draws are critical to success and Nathan has to do better.
With the gauntlet thrown by Forsberg, MacKinnon has to respond.
The Avalanche have historically been able to rely on their best players in the playoffs. MacKinnon must take up that mantle.
Now that the Avalanche have had a taste of playoff hockey, they must respond.