Avalanche-Predators Series Preview


With tonight being the start of the first round series between the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators, it is a great time to preview this series.  This series can be considered a David vs. Goliath, with one side you have the Nashville Predators led by their goaltending got the final playoff spot, while on the other side there is the Colorado Avalanche who are led by the star power throughout the lineup. 

In the regular season, the Predators snuck into the playoffs having 97 points which beat out the Vegas Golden Knights who had 94 points for the final playoff spot. Led by their goaltender Juuse Saros who posted a solid .918 save percentage along with a 2.64 GAA and 38 wins in 67 games,  was a key factor in leading the Predators to the playoffs. However due to a lower-body injury, they will have to be without him for at least the first two games in Colorado. The fact that they will have to rely on Connor Ingram and David Rittich could hurt the Predators chances of winning the series, with having to go up against the high-powered offense of the Avalanche. 

However, Roman Josi who led all Predators and NHL defensemen in points with 96 will help the team a lot in the scoring department alongside scorers like Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg. One issue with the Predators is that of the defensive core, aside from Josi, Alexandre Carrier and Mathias Ekholm, it isn't an extremely strong group when compared to the Avalanche as the others either lack experience or skill. 

Now looking at the Avalanche, they were comfortably in first place all season in the West and were even challenging the Florida Panthers for the President's Trophy. However, they fell three points shy of the Panthers 122 points with 119 points and failed to capture that honor for second year in a row. In nets, the Avalanche will be led by Darcy Kuemper who is the inferior option between him and Saros, but due to him being out, the Avalanche have that advantage throughout the series as two games could be dire in a best of seven series. 

On defense, the Avalanche can potentially match Josi with Cale Makar as the 22-year old had 86 points in 77 games which was three less than Josi. While, his overall numbers may not be as good as Josi, his supporting cast of Samuel Girard, Devon Toews, and Bowen Byram is much better than what Josi has by his side. Therefore, advantage Colorado again.

On the offensive side of things, having Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog as your top line will allow you to have an advantage against practically any team out there. This doesn't mention Nazem Kadri who had a career year with 28 goals and 87 points, as well as Andre Burakovsky, Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen who bring great depth and can play up and down your lineup in a shutdown role. Overall, the fact that Avalanche have all this great depth, it gives them a very big advantage on the Predators who lack the star power that they have.

There is hope for the Predators that their high-end stars like Josi, Duchene and Forsberg could potentially steal a game or two from the Avalanche but it won't be easy. With that being said, Avalanche in five seems to be a very common pick at this point in time. Nonetheless anything can happen, for example one of Connor Ingram or David Rittich could get hot and steal the series from the Avalanche but odds are it won't happen.

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