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Game day thread and preview: Colorado Avalanche look to stay alive in Game 5

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The Avalanche try to avoid elimination as they head to Nashville for Game 5

Colorado Avalanche @ Nashville Predators Western Conference Quarter Final, Game 5

Nashville leads the series 3-1

Game Time: 7:30 PM Mountain Time

Location: Pepsi Center

Broadcast / Streaming: Altitude, Sportsnet360, TVA Sports, NBCSN, FS-TN

Opponent SBNation Site: On the Forecheck

Tonight, the Avalanche are going to need the Hamburglar to steal one for them. (There I got it out of my system early).

The injuries just keep piling up. With the announcement that the Colorado Avalanche are down to their third-string goalie - one that was a contract dump in the Matt Duchene trade - tonight is going to be the biggest challenge this young Avs team has faced all year.

Facing elimination with only two NHL caliber defensemen and no NHL caliber goalies, there really isn’t a logical reason to expect the Avalanche to win in Nashville tonight.

But hey, they’ve been shocking the hockey world all season, why stop now?

This is a team that has gone further than any could have imagined. Even with the injuries, they have pushed the NHL’s best team to the limit in three of the first four games of this series. They’ve been led by an elite top line and a while lot of youthful exuberance. I wouldn’t put money on it, but I won’t be surprised at all if they won tonight and forces the series back to the Pepsi Center for Game 6. They’re a team with nothing to lose - and that’s a dangerous thing to have in an opponent.

In game 4, the Avalanche made it close, but they waited for too long to get things going. They were badly outplayed in the first and while the second was a little better, it took until the third period for them to turn into the team we’re used to seeing. Once they got going, the Avs were dominant. They came within a Colin Wilson post away from sending the game to overtime. The excitement of the third period almost made up for a lackluster effort in the first two.

If they have any hope of winning tonight, the Avs are going to have to get out to a much better start and put the pressure on the Predators early.


Colorado Avalanche

The biggest news coming into tonight’s game is that Jonathan Bernier is not going to be able to play thanks to a lower-body-injury. As a result, Andrew Hammond is going to get his first playoff start since 2015.

It doesn’t look like Sam Girard will be ready to go tonight, but he’s listed at day-to-day and in the playoffs, you never know until the game actually starts.

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost - Alexander Kerfoot - Sven Andrighetto

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

Colin Wilson - J.T. Compher - Gabriel Bourque

Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie

Patrik Nemeth - Mark Barberio

Duncan Siemens - David Warsofsky

Andrew Hammond

Spencer Martin


Nashville Predators

The Predators will be without Rat Boy Ryan Hartman tonight, as he was suspended one game for his hit to the head of Carl Soderberg in Game 4. The league finally handed out some discipline for a dirty play - funny how it was to Hartman and not to the two star players that could have been suspended earlier in the series.

It’s expected that Scott Hartnell will get the call in Hartman’s place.

The top pairing of P.K. Subban and Matthias Ekholm has been lights out all series so with the Preds having home ice advantage, Peter Laviolette is going to be able to match them up with the MacKinnon line as much as he wants. The Preds are likely going to try to make the secondary players beat them tonight - a very sound game plan.

Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson

Kevin Fiala - Kyle Turris- Craig Smith

Colton Sissons - Nick Bonino - Austin Watson

Miikka Salomaki - Mike Fisher - Scott Hartnell

Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Matt Irwin

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros


For those in Denver that want to watch the game together, you can head down the the Pepsi Center for the viewing party.

What do you think? Do the Avs force a game 6?