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Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Game 1 Preview: 61:35

If you didn’t already know...the puck drops in Nashville tonight for the first game of Round 1 against the Colorado Avalanche.

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It’s hard to believe that I’m writing a preview for Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2018. It’s not that I can’t write a game preview.. .I’ve done more than a few. It just seems surreal that the playoffs are finally here.

If you missed Adam Vingan’s article in the Tennesseean about the “61:35” reference, check it out here. The Preds are more than motivated to win 16 games this year, and this time, it’s more than the Smashville faithful who think they can get the job done and lift the Cup.

Puck drop is at 8:30 pm Central tonight, so get your caffeine ready to go.

The Nashville Predators

Tonight’s game is the first of 16 games required to lift the Stanley Cup. Nashville is no longer a surprise 16th-seed. Plenty of hockey writers and sports analysts have picked Nashville to go all the way this season.

Every minute of the last 82 games has been played so the Predators are in this spot...the #1 seed, the 2017-2018 President’s Trophy winners, the HOME TEAM throughout the playoffs. It’s safe to say that the entire locker room was motivated from June 11th, 2017 to compete for that home ice advantage and better playoff positioning.

#35 will be in net tonight, and you can guarantee that the boys in gold will bring the thunder as soon as that puck drops.

The Colorado Avalanche

As the 16th seed this season, the Avalanche have a lot of faith in their first round matchup because they just saw Nashville succeed as the 16th seed last season. They powered their way through the end of the regular season, edging the St. Louis Blues for a wild card spot in the playoffs.

The Avalanche are without defenseman Erik Johnson and goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Starting in net will be Jonathan Bernier. OTF took a closer look at Bernier earlier this week. Smashville saw Bernier for nearly an entire game in last season’s Western Conference Final when he was in net for the Anaheim Ducks. He wears a different sweater this season and Colorado will be placing their faith in him to get the job done.

The forward corps were analyzed earlier this week. We know that Nathan MacKinnon is incredibly dangerous, and he’s flanked by captain Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. This first line is incredibly potent, but the other three lines drop off steeply. Young Alexander Kerfoot and Tyson Jost will be fun to watch. Oh, and Colin Wilson. Will Playoff Colin Wilson show up for Colorado?

Nick took a look at the Ads defense here. Nikita Zadorov and Tyson Barrie make up the first pairing, and former Predators prospect Samuel Girard has found a home on the second pair with Patrick Nemeth. Zadorov takes a ton of penalties, so Nashville could use that to their advantage (while staying out of the box themselves).

Don’t forget about our other series previews:

Memories and Feelings

-The playoff atmosphere in Nashville is unlike anything most hockey fans have experienced. We do it right in the Music City. The pedestrian bridge is already decked out with each player’s jersey number.

-The opening ceremony is promised to be one of the biggest Nashville has ever seen...perhaps one of the biggest openings in sports per Predators CEO Sean Henry (as teased on 102.5 The Game earlier this week.)

-Carrie Underwood walking out to sing the anthem in Game 3 against Chicago last season was incredible. Could she appear for Game 1 tonight?

Reasons to Watch

-Per the Predators, guests in attendance tonight in Bridgestone Arena will get rally towels and LED necklaces.

-I don’t feel like I need to provide you any more reasons to watch this game...but...


Tonight’s Theme Song

“Run This Town” by Jay-Z and Rihanna. I purposefully do not listen to this (or any) playoff-related songs unless it’s the playoffs. It’s finally time, ya’ll.

(there isn’t a good version of “Run This Town” on YouTube that’s not a rip-off version)

Tonight’s Beverage of Choice

Tonight, I’ll be sipping on some Four Roses Single Barrel in hopes that this series is the same as the number of roses on the bottle.

How to Watch

This one is easy. Tonight’s game is broadcast on both Fox Sports-TN and NBC Sports. 102.5 The Game has the radio call, and puck drop is at 8:30 pm Central. Remember, there are several Dunkin’ Donuts carts in Bridgestone Arena.

If you don’t have seats to the game but want to watch the game with fellow gold-clad fans, check on the Predators website or the Tennessean to find out where you can watch the game in the Nashville area.

According to the Tennessean, The Music City Walk of Fame park will be open to watch the game (right next to Bridgestone Arena), but make sure you get there early because that place is going to be PACKED.