The Predators will take on the Avalanche in Smashville Tuesday night in the first post All-Star break match-up for both teams. The Predators are looking to not only build off of their stellar first half performance of the regular season, but also their impressive showing in the All-Star game itself.
The Colorado Avalanche
While it could be nice for the Preds to face a team like the Avs to get their post-All Star season started off right, the Avs are not a team to be taken lightly. They have picked up pace (if you can call it that) in their last 10 games, going 5-3-2, picking up 12 points over teams like Boston, Chicago, and Dallas. Yes, they still sit in 5th place in the Central division and 10 points out of 4th place Winnipeg. But this team is capable of scoring in many ways, including illegally (sorry, I had to).
Though they are only 23rd in the league in scoring at 2.48 goals per game, their top scoring line of Alex Tanguay, Matt Duchene, and Jarome Iginla have scored 40 goals between them and have a combined 14% shooting percentage. Golden boy Nathan MacKinnon is not having quite the 2nd year as he did last year... and how could he?After from the Mackinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly line, the Avs don't boast much of an offensive threat. At least Tyson Barrie is no longer leading their team in points.
The stats suggest the Avs are marginally better defensively than offensively, but being 21st in the league in goals allowed (2.77 goals per game) isn't exactly what you would call good. And now they won't even have their top defenseman Erik Johnson for 3-8 weeks. Yep, their $3.75 million career sub 50% 5v5 Corsi defensemen with 23 points will be sitting out for a while. Real. Big. Deal. Just plug in Zach Redmond or Jan Hejda or any NBA player or C-3PO... I am sure they could play better defense.
The Nashville Predators
Speaking of defense, it's clear that Ryan Ellis (who, by the way, plays better hockey and makes $1.25M less than Erik Johnson) will still be out a couple weeks. As for Pekka Rinne? We know a bit more, but still very little. He skated yesterday which is good. But with the team calling up Marek Mazanec ahead of tonight's matchup, it seems likely to be either Hutton or Maz in net tonight. No need to push Rinne back into the lineup too early.
Much like many of you I imagine, I thoroughly enjoyed the Predators representation at the All-Star game this weekend. Everything from Filip Forsberg winning a car and then toying with physics to Shea Weber's dramatic unveiling of his new 108.5 The Weber FM station. Oh and then Team Lavy (I refuse to call them Team Toews) won the game with Nashville's own contributing handsomely.
37 games left in the regular season. Wow.
Look at yourself in the mirror and say that in October you thought we would be 30-10-5 on January 27th. Then go sit in the corner and stare at the wall for 30 minutes, you're in time-out for lying.
Reasons to Watch
Here they are:
Pre-game Music For Your Listening Enjoyment
John Cale: sophisticated, enlightening, debonair. Just like the Preds!
The Important Details
7pm start time, TV: FS-TN, Radio: 102.5 The Game