The Colorado Avalanche are riding a four game winning streak into Tuesday’s matchup with the division leading Nashville Predators.
This sets up as a real measuring stick for the Colorado Avalanche, the Predators lead the Avs by five points (35-30) in the Central division standings. Nashville is tied with Toronto and Tampa Bay with 17 wins on the season. The Avalanche have 13 but have played one fewer game than Nashville.
It’s no secret that Colorado’s top line has been hot all season, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen are all top-10 in the NHL in scoring with Rantanen atop the board. MacKinnon is second in points and and fourth in goals. We mentioned here that Colorado has seen a surge in production from the other lines, of note is J.T. Compher‘s three goals since his return from a head injury.
Defensively, the Avalanche have performed well recently after a mid-November swoon that saw their GAA bend upward. The Avalanche are getting good defense at the right time, coupled with their NHL best offensive output, Colorado has become a formidable team.
They would almost always need all hands on deck and performing at a top level to beat the Predators in Nashville but the hockey gods have smiled at the Avalanche on Tuesday with news that Kyle Turris‘ upper-body injury would force him onto the IR with standout defenseman P.K. Subban. The loss of Turris hurts the Predators on the offensive end and costs them depth but Subban is the bigger issue for Nashville. The bruising Predators blueliner has a knack not just for traditional defensive play but for the gritty, vocal style that tends to get in opponents heads.
While Subban’s style may drive opponent’s fans crazy, it’s a very effective style and one that the Predators can not replace. Colorado is fortunate that Subban is out, he was a huge factor in the Predators first round defeat of the Avalanche in last season’s playoffs.
Pekka Rinne is as good as ever in the net for Nashville, as is Semyon Varlamov for Colorado. This is one the Avalanche need and it’s been set up in favor of the young Colorado team. Of course, that’s always the perfect recipe for disaster but this Avs squad seems much less susceptible than previous squads.
Here’s all you need to know:
Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators
Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN 6:00pm MDT
TV: Altitude, Fox Sports Tennessee
Radio: Altitude Radio 950, 102.5 The Game
PK Subban – doubtful
Viktor Arvidsson – out
Kyle Turris – out
The Avalanche complete their second consecutive back-to-back with the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at Pepsi Center.