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Game Preview: Avalanche host injured Predators

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If there ever was a game this team should win, it’s this one.

Colorado Avalanche v Nashville Predators Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche play the Nashville Predators tonight, and they’ll do it not just without Cody McLeod, but against him. The 32-year-old winger was dealt on Friday, ending his ten-year tenure with the Avalanche. Now, with all the injuries Nashville has suffered, it’s very likely he will make his debut for the Predators playing against the Burgundy & Blue—and that’s going to really weird to watch.

Will he make an errant pass to a former teammate? Shoot at the wrong goal? It would be hard to blame him if he did.

The Predators are coming off their second straight win, a 2-1 affair against the Boston Bruins during which they lost top defenseman Roman Josi to an “upper-body injury.” He’ll join other top defenseman Colin Wilson on the Injured Reserve, along with forward James Neal and puck-moving dynamo PK Subban, who has been working his way back recently in practice. What does this mean? It means Colorado should have a really excellent chance of winning this game tonight—which means they most likely won’t.

Then again, it’s a new era—a Cody McLeod-less era, one where a fourth line might actually play a useful role. We’re also seeing coach Jared Bednar shake up the lines a bit after not getting enough scoring from the Landeskog—MacKinnon—Rantanen trio. The captain will bumb down to the second group with Matt Duchene (I’m calling it the ‘Rumor’ line). The other wing? Probably still waiver-wire pickup, Matt Nieto, but that remains to be seen.

That also begs the question: Who now gets the promotion to the top unit? Is it someone like struggling forward Carl Soderberg, who has been playing much better as of late? Or is it someone like Jarome Iginla, who in the best interest of the organization might need some showcase time? I suppose we’ll see when the puck drops.

And when does that puck drop? Early.

Like 3:00 PM EST (1:00 PM MST) early, so wake up, make good your New Year’s resolution exercise and let’s do this thing!

Lineup

Iginla—MacKinnon—Rantanen
Landeskog—Duchene—Nieto
Comeau—Soderberg—Bourque
Martinsen—Grigorenko—Colborne

Tyutin—Barrie
Zadorov—Wiercioch
Beauchemin—Goloubef

Varlamov
Pickard