Needless to say, fans and players alike were feeling the frustrations of inconsistency throughout the season. The team would go out and score five goals and then only put up one goal the following game. Everyone knew something needed to be done, and David Poile got it done.
Colorado has been hot as of late. They have won two in a row and have gone 6-2-2 in their last ten games. The noteworthy take away though is that they beat the Kings and the Blues in back to back games earlier this week. Wins against playoff caliber teams will help boost anyone's confidence.
Matt Duchene earned his second All-Star Game appearance earlier this week, and it was well deserved. Duchene has been playing great all year long and it shows in the points standings on his team. He leads the Avs in points with 34 (19G and 15A). Right there with him is Nathan Mackinnon who is tied at 34 points (14G and 20A). Nathan MacKinnon is a growing star in this league, and he is only getting better with the more experience he gets.
Duchene and MacKinnon have been great for the Avalanche all year long, but you also can't forget about the team captain, Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog is currently on pace to have one of his best seasons to date in his career. Not only is he producing for Colorado, but he is also leading them to, what looks to be, a second half push for the playoffs.
Speaking of which, the Avalanche are only two points behind Nashville for the second wild card spot, though the Preds have a game in hand. What once seemed to be a team that was dead in the water early on, now looks like a team who is poised to make some noise late in the season. All games are important, but it doesn't get much more important than playing a division rival who is slightly ahead of you in the standings.
Let me start off by saying, finally!!!! The Predators finally got their number one center they have been vying for all these years. I am pretty sure my reaction was something in the tune of the following:
This was a huge week for Nashville as an organization, and for its fans. Not only did David Poile bring in Ryan Johansen, but the Predators will also have three representatives at the All-Star Game (Shea Weber, Roman Josi, and Pekka Rinne). It will be nice to see the team represented in its hometown.
Other than the game on Tuesday, this has been a pretty good week for Nashville. The Johansen trade should give the locker room an extra boost of energy moving forward with the season. It will be interesting to see what lines Laviolette will roll out for tonight's game. I, for one, would love to see a James Neal - Johansen - Filip Forsberg first line. But looks like Lavy has different thoughts.
Peter Laviolette says Ryan Johansen will start with Colin Wilson and James Neal, but cautioned it's subject to change obviously.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) January 7, 2016
And here is what the rest of the lines look like:
Predators lines: Wilson-Johansen-Neal Forsberg-Ribeiro-Jarnkrok Salomaki-Fisher-Smith Nystrom-Gaustad-Watson Bourque-Hodgson-Arvidsson— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) January 7, 2016
PP1: 6, 59, 63, 12, 33. PP2: 9, 4, 92, 18, 15.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) January 7, 2016
The possibilities are endless!
Reasons To Watch
There is only one reason to watch. Ryan Johansen's debut. That should be enough for anyone to tune into this one.
Drink Of Choice For Game Time
I would suggest getting your hands on some Oskar Blues Brewery G'Knight Imperial Red.
Sights And Sounds
FS-TN for television and 102.5 The Game for radio. Puck drops at 8:00 pm CST.