Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Colorado Avalanche 12/17/22
May God have mercy on us all...
How to Watch
Puck Drop: 8:00 PM CST
Place: Ball Arena - Denver, CO
Radio: 102.5 The Game
Avs’ SB Nation Site: Mile High Hockey
The Nashville Predators
12-12-4 (28 pts); 6th in Central Division, 12th in Western Conference, 25th in NHL
The Colorado Avalanche
15-11-2 (32 pts); 4th in Central Division, 8th in Western Conference, 17th in NHL
Injuries seem to be the only thing keeping the Avalanche from recapturing last season’s magic. Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Bowen Byram, Josh Manson, and Darren Helm are all on the shelf, and Valeri Nichushkin just returned after missing nearly two months of action. That roster turmoil has led to a frustrating start for the Avs, who have only won 4 of their past 10 games, and are hovering around the middle of the pack of the West.
That doesn’t, however, mean the Avs don’t have plenty of guys who can still whip the Preds. Mikko Rantanen (20 G, 17 A) has picked up the scoring slack with Landeskog and MacKinnon out. New addition Artturi Lehkonen (8 G, 13 A) is on pace to shatter his career-best scoring total. And... you know... Cale Makar still exists.
Apart from injuries, the Avs have had only one discernable weakness this season. Unfortunately for the Preds, that weakness is the penalty kill. The Avs have killed just 76% of opponents’ power play chances, 22nd in the NHL (for reference, the Preds are 19th). Colorado’s PK units have been prone to giving up a lot of high-danger chances, especially in the front of the net. So if... and I emphasize IF... the Preds want to find some momentum with the man advantage, this game is a good chance.
Player to Watch
Amidst the discourse on the Preds’ handling of young players, Cody Glass has quietly seen an uptick in playing time. Glass was arguably Nashville’s best non-Saros player in Thursday’s loss to the Jets, creating prime chances, getting himself in dangerous areas, and beating Jets players in transition (Glass also led all Preds skaters with .43 ixG at 5v5.)
With the Preds looking very milquetoast over the past week, someone with Glass’s energy can be a spark plug. The hope is that Hynes can recognize that and continue giving Glass chances to make a play.