The Nashville Predators handed themselves a disappointing loss Thursday in Minnesota. A 3-0 and 4-2 lead was erased quickly by a relentless Wild team while the Predators forgot how to play hockey in the second and third periods. The only player with a sustained hustle was the unbeatable Viktor Arvidsson, who put the fourth Preds goal behind Devan Dubnyk. The rest of the team looked sloppy and lazy.
Tonight, the Predators face a familiar foe in the Colorado Avalanche in the Bridgestone Tire Barn. Colorado managed to hang six goals on a struggling Washington road team Thursday. Gabriel Landeskog notched a hat trick, and goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves.
As Willy Daunic noted on Friday, good teams respond from a heartbreaking loss like Thursday’s. Tonight is the night to begin another win streak.
The Colorado Avalanche
The Avs didn’t have a great time in Sweden last week. They dropped both games to the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series.
The Avalanche were, of course, one of the three teams involved in the blockbuster trade also involving the Predators earlier this month. Matt Duchene’s trade finally came through, sending him to Ottawa. Nashville ended up with Kyle Turris, and various Ottawa prospects/picks went to Colorado.
Nashville sent centerman Vladislav Kamenev to Colorado, as well as young defenseman Samuel Girard. Girard was able to play in the series in Sweden, and Kamenev was recalled to Colorado before Thursday’s game. However, Kamenev took a hit from Brooks Orpik in the contest against Washington and broke his arm. Poor kid.
The Avalanche recalled forward Dominic Toninato from the San Antonio Rampage. He will join the Avs in Nashville on Saturday.
Side note: Our SB Nation friends at Mile High Hockey think Girard should be nicknamed “The Marshal.” I’ve linked their article...it’s a very good nickname suggestion. We love this kid, but I’m really hoping he doesn’t score against us.
The Avalanche are 9-7-1 coming into tonight’s game.
Colin Wilson scored his first goal as a member of the Avalanche on Thursday. Nathan McKinnon scored his sixth goal of the season, and Mikko Rantanen had 3 assists.
The Nashville Predators
Our Preds were rolling along at a fantastic clip before Thursday’s setback. However, much can be said about that five game win streak…mostly that the Predators established scoring leads and then blew them due to a lack of motivation to play a full 60 minutes and bad penalties. I was at the dramatic Washington game on Tuesday and my blood pressure still hasn’t fully recovered.
Thursday saw Nashville’s $64 million man Ryan Johansen tally his first goal of the season…finally. The Most Handsome Captain Roman Josi added another goal, and Mattias Ekholm scored his second shorthanded tally of his career. The game pretty much fell apart after Ekholm’s goal, however.
Pekka Rinne has allowed 12 goals over the last three games and his save percentage over those three games is a sad .872. Yikes. Young Juuse Saros was sent to Milwaukee to play some games and knock off some rust. Anders Lindback is a welcome face, even while sitting on the bench. I’m still of the opinion that Rinne needs a bit more rest than what he’s getting. This stretch of games will see the Predators playing every other night until the beginning of December. Put Lindback in for one of these home games and give Rinne a night off.
Preds fans have a lot to be excited about in the Smith-Turris-Fiala line. I don’t think we’ve seen them fully rolling yet, but they’re due for many massive goals very soon. Turris is the perfect center for Smith and Fiala’s speed.
Friday’s practice saw the Predators rolling the same lines from the Minnesota game.
Same lineup for the #Preds during today's practice.— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) November 17, 2017
Tonight’s game is crucial against a Central division opponent. Each opportunity for two points is huge. The most important thing to watch for is how the Predators respond to Thursday’s blown lead and loss.
Memories and Feelings
-Hi Sam Girard, we miss you.
-Hi Colin Wilson, we miss you a little less.
-The golden boys secured a 4-1 win against Colorado in October. Let’s do that again!
Reasons to Watch
-Tonight is the second Hockey Fights Cancer night. Expect an awesome auction from the Predators Foundation and plenty of lavender!
-The Preds have an excellent home record, as expected. Smashville advantage!
-I fully expect more goals from the Smith-Turris-Fiala (Smurf? SmiTurFi?) line.
Tonight’s Theme Song
“Don’t Look Back” by Boston. The plan is simple: move forward, play a full 60 minutes of hockey, and establish the Predators identity.
How to Watch
Fox Sports-TN has the live broadcast from Bridgestone, and 102.5 The Game will have the radio call. Puck drop is at 7.