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Inside the Rivalry: Colorado Avalanche

The Predators were less than stellar against the Avalanche last season but there were still some pretty great memories made along the way.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The departure of Colorado Avalanche Head Coach Patrick Roy is both a clear reflection of the lack of desire by management to improve the team and possibly a blessing in disguise. The Avalanche have an obvious hole in their roster with their lack of defense and they have done little to improve it.

Roy’s system, however, was not very conducive to a possession game, which today’s game is ever-trending towards. Also, though the Avalanche’s best asset—their young and highly skilled forwards—have been very productive in the past, not a single forward has produced sixty points or more over the past two seasons.

Despite this, the Predators were not able to take full advantage of a bad Avalanche team. This is the NHL, though, and any team can win on a given night.

Record vs. Colorado Last Season: 2-3-0

Best Player from the Series Last Year

With three goals, four assists, and a +5 rating, Filip Forsberg has to be the first star of this series. Ryan Johansen is a close second with a goal and four assists. Most notably, this series brought Forsberg’s best goal of his career to date.

All of the Avalanche games occurred in the last half of the season, when Forsberg was at his absolute best. It also is no surprise that Forsberg (and Johansen for that matter) an offensive force for the Predators, had so much success with a team that was so bad defensively.

That trend will likely not change going into next season as the Avalanche have done little to improve their far below average defensive core. The one positive for them is guys like Tyson Barrie and Nikita Zadorov will be one year older.

Best Game from Last Year

In my opinion, the best game from last year was the Predators 5-2 win against Colorado on March 5.

The Avalanche’s Blake Comeau scored the lone goal in the first, though the Predators outshot them 15-9. Goals by Forsberg and then Landeskog left the Predators down by one once again going into the third. This was yet another case of the Predators coming out hard and then letting up a bit in the second period.

The Predators might have been down but they were certainly not out and they exploded with four goals in the final period of the game. The first came off a great individual effort by Ryan Johansen to break up the play in the defensive zone, bring the puck into the offensive zone, and deke out Nathan MacKinnon next to the goal, which created a juicy rebound that was picked up by James Neal. Midway through the period, Mike Fisher picked up a rebound off a Matthias Ekholm shot and the Predators took the one to nothing lead they expanded with two empty net goals to win the game 5-2.

The reason this game was the best of the series was it was really a complete effort by the entire team. All three of the first Predators goals were scored by each of the top-three lines and Pekka Rinne stopped 36 out of 38 shots. It also contained one of the best Shea Weber memories of last season with this empty net goal:

Best Moment from Last Year

I mean, is it really a question? Well maybe with the Forsberg goal it is but I don’t think you can top Ryan Johansen’s no-look goal top cheese on his first shot in a Nashville Predators Jersey.

Bold Prediction for the 2016-2017 Season

The Predators score a combined 20 goals against the Avalanche. I fully expect the offense to be in full swing for the Predators with the acquisitions of Johansen and P.K. Subban. With a fairly suspect defense, the Avalanche are not in a good position to handle that much offense and the Predators take full advantage.