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Nashville Predators @ Colorado Avalanche Preview: Flurries and Frosties

Can seven wins snowball into eight in this matinee matchup?

Today, the Predators finish up their road trip with a matinee matchup in Colorado. Their last contests on this road trip have been anything but boring. Winning come-from-behind games has been a theme recently, and a slick overtime goal by Calle “The New Deal” Jarnkrok sealed their last victory in Vancouver.

Wendy’s in Middle Tennessee has probably given away more free frosties this season than they expected. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday’s games all resulted in four (or more) goals, and I’m sure many Predators fans have secured their frozen chocolate goodies.

Note: If someone wants to do the math to find out which Predator has given us the most Frosties this season, that would be really cool.

Oh, and Mike Fisher scored a goal in his first NHL game since June. How will they fare against the Avalanche?

The Nashville Predators

So, aside from Fisher’s goal in Friday’s game, we saw some weird combinations on ice as the often healthy-scratched Anthony Bitetto and Matt Irwin took the ice, and Scott Hartnell and Craig Smith got some rest in favor of Mikka Salomaki. It seems like these healthy scratches were simply for maintenance.

We know that a healthy lineup will be key in the playoffs, and getting guys rest in March might make little sense to anyone except the Predators who saw their forward depth depleted last spring. Further, this line roulette also helps each player acclimate to playing with other lines. It might be weird, but it makes complete sense. Like a well-rounded Pokemon lineup, the Predators can slot in certain players with specific skill sets. If they require speed, they might want to play Colton Sissons and Smith. If they need heavy hitters, they could slot in Fisher and Salomaki.

Juuse Saros secured a win Friday evening, but he is looking a little rusty. He only played two of the Preds’ last 15 games, mostly because Pekka Rinne has been on fire. It seems like Saros could use a few more starts as March goes on. Saros has a .924 save percentage, and Rinne has a .927. Nothing to frown at there.

Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala have been lighting the lamp a ton these days. Filip Forsberg keeps dishing out beautiful passes, and the Predators have thirteen players with more than 20 points this season.

Ryan Hartman has been rolling up and down the lineup trying to find some line mates. I heard mentioned in the early part of the Vancouver game that Laviolette was impressed with Hartman’s understanding of the Nashville team setup and their goals as they near the playoffs.

Nashville leads the Western Conference in points, trailed by Vegas and Winnipeg. They’re only one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the League lead. The President’s Trophy is indeed an attainable goal for the Predators right now. Many of us would love to see the Predators as the Central Division champions, too. Bring on the banners!

The Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche are 35-24-5. They’re not that team that’s so often hung out at the bottom of the League. Since the Matt Duchene trade, the Avalanche have been a new-look team. They didn’t make any huge moves at the trade deadline, and they’re doing just fine in terms of scoring. Nathan MacKinnon leads the team with 31 goals and 45 assists. Jeez. Mikko Rantanen has 61 points, and Gabriel Landeskog has 47. Tyson Barrie leads Colorado defensemen with eight goals and 33 points.

Our old friend Colin Wilson has six goals and 10 assists, and young Sam Girard has two goals and 13 assists.

In net, Semyon Varlamov has been having a monstrous season. He has a .914 save percentage, and fellow netminder Jonathan Bernier also has a .914%.

They had a fairly solid 2017 draft, and can continue to add prospects this off-season too. Colorado is doing just fine on their rebuild.

The Avalanche practically murdered the Minnesota Wild in their last outing, winning 7-1 on goals by Landeskog, Barrie, Soderberg, Rantanen, Nieto, and two from MacKinnon. They’ve won three in a row.

Memories and Feelings

-Hi, Colin Wilson!

-Hi, Sam Girard!

Reasons to Watch

A lovely Sunday afternoon game gives you plenty of time for Sunday morning activities. Church, brunch, a morning workout, laundry, etc., can all be completed before you settle down at 2 for the game.

Today’s Theme Song

“It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC.

How to Watch

Today’s game can be viewed on Fox Sports-TN, and Pete Weber has the radio call on 102.5 The Game. Puck drop is at 2 pm Central.