Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Colorado Avalanche 11/10/22

The Predators end their road trip against the reigning Stanley Cup champions

The Nashville Predators continue to be an inconsistent hockey team, and their 5-7-1 record has them seventh in the Central Division with 11 points only ahead of the St. Louis Blues, who sit with six.

Despite stringing two wins in a row against the Calgary Flames (4-1) and the Vancouver Canucks (4-3 in a shootout), the Predators still left much to be desired, and fan concerns were brought to light against the Seattle Kraken, where the Predators lost 5-1 but could have lost by much more if it weren’t for some posts and Kevin Lankinen coming in to save the day.

Playing the Avalanche is always a tough test for any team, despite an underwhelming 6-4-1 start for the reigning champions. But for a team that is currently struggling as the Predators are, I could this being a complete bloodbath, or they’re going to take home the win, as plenty of these matchups have been in the past.

Three Things to Look For...

1). Team Defense and Turnovers

The game against Seattle was terrible particularly because of the terrible turnovers that resulted in goals. The one that sticks with me the most is Ryan McDonagh fumbling the puck after coming around the net and giving it to the Seattle player Jordan Eberle in the slot. The third goal that the Predators gave up off a horrendous Nino Niederreiter turnover was pretty bad too. Safe to say that turnovers and terrible team defense on the rush and in the defensive zone cost the Predators tons of high-danger chances, and ultimately left Juuse Saros out to dry. Don’t get me wrong, there was a goal or two that he should have had, but if the team's defense was even slightly better, the goal deficit may not have been so bad.

Speaking of Saros, it’s time to get into the second thing to look for, which fans have had some loud opinions on as of late (and for good reason).

2). Goaltending

It has been a tale of two starts for the Predators goaltending tandem. Saros has started off his season worse than usual. One of our friends over at A to Z sports, Alex Daugherty, wrote about his poor start to the season in an article here. Meanwhile, Lankinen has been red hot, starting the season with a 1.91 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. The Predators need their goalies to be at the top of their game every night, and their record is indicative of a Vezina Trophy finalist from last season going cold.

The defense in front of Saros has not helped him, but considering the dichotomy between his numbers and Lankinen’s, there are certain things he could be doing better to help prevent goals, especially one like the first he gave up to Eberle early in the game against the Kraken.

3). Special Teams

The power play has been a problem for the Predators early in the 2022-23 campaign. The team sits 29th in the NHL in the percentage at 14.3. Their penalty kill has been good, sitting seventh in the NHL at 83%. However, the team needs to stay out of the box and avoid the stupid penalties that they consistently take. It was a problem for the team last season, and it has continued to be a problem currently.

The Avalanche are always a threat on the power play. Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon alone are names that should scare any opposing penalty kill. Add in a player like Cale Makar, and that’s just another threat to add to the list. The Predators have consistently been killed by taking stupid penalties because they can’t keep up with Colorado’s speed, and then it destroyed them on the score board. They need to limit them as best they can and take advantage of power play opportunities because they don’t come often against this team.

How to Watch

Puck Drop: 8:00 pm CT/9:00 pm ET
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio 102.5 The Game