Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators Gametime

Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche welcome the Nashville Predators in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff matchup.  The Avs will be motivated.

You’d be hard-pressed to find two more statistically similar NHL teams than the Colorado Avalanche and the Nashville Predators.

The one place that the Avalanche separate is on the Power Play.  The Avs have 13 power play goals on the season to Nashville’s six.  Colorado converts power plays at a 26% clip, the Predators just 11.8%.  Coupled with the performance of the Avalanche top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen (the NHL’s leading scorer).  Mac and Landy are tied for second in the NHL with 11 goals each.

Nashville’s answer is all-world goaltender Pekka Rinne, with his 1.63 goals against and .948 save percentage.  His Colorado counterpart, Semyon Varlamov is nearly Rinne’s equal despite the six-goal onslaught in Calgary.

The Avalanche are in a mini-slump, having given up 13 goals in their recent two-game  Western Canada swing.  We’d talked before about the Avalanche’s over-reliance on their goaltenders for their defense and that caught up to Colorado recently.

Fortunately, they were able to salvage a point from the Vancouver Canucks so they haven’t come home empty-handed from the trip.  Nashville are winners of four of their last five and have ridden the red-hot Rinne but  they also boast the top defense in the NHL.  Nashville is ninth in offense, making them a dangerous opponent and justifying their spot atop the standings.

Here’s what you need to know for the Game:

-. 103. Final. -. 151

Pepsi Center Denver, Colorado 8pm MDT

TV: Altitude, NBCSN

Radio: 92.5 Altitude, 102.5 The Game

Streaming:  Altitude NOW (Subscription)

Favorite: Avalanche +110

Injury Report:

Colorado Avalanche:

Tyson Jost – out

Nashville Predators:

Viktor Arvidsson RW – out

Zac Rinaldo C – questionable

If Colorado can find a way to solve Rinne, their overpowering top line will have an opportunity to carry the Avalanche against the deep, talented Predators.  That’s a big if (bif?) considering the Preds goalie has been on top of his game for years.