Coming off a successful homestand that got them back into the Western Conference chase, the Colorado Avalanche begin a quick two-game road trip against the Nashville Predators tonight. Last Saturday in Denver, Colorado won 3-1, and they will look to win the season series against the Preds tonight in Nashville.
The Avs have begun to turn around a season defined by injuries, as they have won five out of their last six and sit just six points out of first place in the Central Division with three games in hand.
Key forwards like Valeri Nichushkin and Evan Rodrigues have returned to bolster Colorado’s top six, and the team has simplified its play to a more responsible defensive style and it is yielding results. Mikko Rantanen is one of the best players in the league right now, Alexandar Georgiev is playing the best hockey of his short Avalanche career, and the Avs seemed to have turned a corner.
They’re still not back to the dominant high-flying squad we know and love, but this team is capable of beating anyone on any given night with how well they’re playing defensively right now, as Nashville learned last Saturday night when they were only able to score one goal on just 26 shots.
Artturi Lehkonen (62) - J.T. Compher (37) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Alex Newhook (18) - Evan Rodrigues (9) - Valeri Nichushkin (13)
Denis Malgin (81) - Ben Meyers (59) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Martin Kaut (61) - Jacob MacDonald (26)
Cale Makar (8) - Devon Toews (7)
Sam Girard (49) - Erik Johnson (6)
Andreas Englund (88) - Brad Hunt (17)
After the Avs extended Nashville’s losing streak to six games last Saturday night, the Predators snapped it and have won two straight against the Edmonton Oilers and the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks.
Against Chicago, Roman Josi set the new franchise mark for most career points, passing David Legwand with an assist on Thomas Novak’s third period power play goal.
Filip Forsberg (9) — Mikael Granlund (64) – Matt Duchene (95)
Nino Niederreiter (22) – Cody Glass (8) – Colton Sissons (10)
Cole Smith (36) – Ryan Johansen (92) – Mark Jankowski (17)
Yakov Trenin (13) — Juuso Parssinen (75) – Tanner Jeannot (84)
Roman Josi (59) – Jordan Gross (46)
Mattias Ekholm (14) – Dante Fabbro (57)
Kevin Gravel (5) – Roland Mckeown (55)
Juuse Saros started in net against the Avs on Saturday night and one would expect him to play again given that Nashville has three days off ahead of their next game against Dallas. Over the years, Jared Bednar has proven he likes to play the hot hand in net which is currently Georgiev. Colorado also has three days off ahead of their next game against the perpetually rebuilding Arizona Coyotes which is likely to feature backup Pavel Francouz, so one would expect Bednar to give Georgiev the nod again against a middling yet still dangerous team in Nashville.