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Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Game 5 Preview: Start Strong, Finish Strong

Will tonight’s game end in a handshake line?

The Predators need one game to clinch their first round series against the Avalanche. After a [somewhat] convincing Game 4 victory, Nashville will seek to close out the series on home ice at Bridgestone Arena.

The Nashville Predators

Another filthy Filip Forsberg goal put Nashville up early on Wednesday. Does the Prince have another nasty goal in him? A huge Forsberg goal might make the roof come off Bridgestone Arena.

We saw Calle Jarnkrok take a spot on the fourth line on Wednesday. It’s good to have new daddy Calle back on the ice. I wouldn’t expect any line shuffles (ex: moving Jarnkrok to another line) for tonight’s game, but it’s likely there will be shuffling prior to the next series.

Can Kyle Turris get going tonight? He’s been largely bolstered by Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith. Turris is due a nasty snipe tonight.

Pekka Rinne looked to be back to his im-Pekka-ble self on Wednesday evening. He wasn’t having any monkey business from Colorado, and it’ll likely be the same tonight. Rinne wants to help his team secure tonight’s victory, so expect some huge saves from the Vezina-nominated goaltender. It helped that the defense played better in front of Rinne on Wednesday.

There were many good things to take from Wednesday’s game, and hopefully Nashville is able to incorporate those into tonight’s game. Fewer penalties, please.

And just so you can see it again:

The Colorado Avalanche

Perhaps the biggest factor in Colorado’s game tonight will be the availability of goaltender Jonathan Bernier. He left late in the second period on Wednesday evening with a lower body injury and was replaced by Andrew Hammond. Keep an eye on the morning skate lines and any interviews with Colorado head coach Jared Bednar.

[Coach Bednar announced that Hammond will start Game 5]

It’s safe to say that this series is getting chippy, and I fully expect the crowd in Bridgestone to be doing the appropriate amount of “annoying” chanting to rile up Colorado fans.

The Predators did an excellent job controlling the top lines on Wednesday, but don’t expect the Avalanche to roll over and quit. They’ll be amped up and ready to go for tonight. Gabriel Landeskog notched a goal for Colorado, as did young Alexander Kerfoot.

Memories and Feelings

-Hopefully the calls aren’t as atrocious as they were in Game 2 and hopefully Ryan Hartman doesn’t get speared in his no-no-square again.

-Let’s not allow former Nashville fourth liner Gabriel Bourque to score a goal tonight, please.

Reasons to Watch

-Game 5! Who is ready to clinch the series and move on toward the winner of the Winnipeg-Minnesota series? (ME!!!)

-Nashville can really flex its muscle tonight and show the Avalanche the door.

Tonight’s Theme Song

“Made for This” by Carrollton. This is from the Predators’ pre-game hype intro (at least for this round), and it’s a great jam to get pumped up with.

Tonight’s Beverage of Choice

Jackalope Lovebird. It’s a seasonal choice that features strawberries and raspberries. The Avalanche and Predators don’t love each other right now, but you’ll love Lovebird.

How to Watch

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on NBC Sports. 102.5 The Game has the radio call, and puck drop will be a bit after 8:30. If you’re going to Bridgestone Arena, be in your seats early for the pre-game celebration.