Nashville Predators @ Colorado Avalanche Preview: Wild Card Showdown
The Preds look to extend their point streak when they visit the Avs today.
Nashville is looking to rebound from its overtime defeat to the Devils. The Avalanche have lost their hold on the second wild card spot thanks to the Minnesota Wild.
Today's game is important for both of these teams. It is going to come down to who wants it more.
The Colorado Avalanche
The Avs have cooled off as of late. They are still 6-4-0 in their last 10 games, but the Wild have made the most of their games in hand and have overtaken the final wild card spot.
We know the urgency for this team is there. They went out and got Mikkel Boedker from the Coyotes to add some offensive depth. So far, he has fit in nicely. Boedker has two points in the two games he has played so far. If he provides them with the offensive punch they need, the Avalanche will be making some noise come later this month.
Boedker isn't going to have to carry this team by himself though. Luckily for him, he has the likes of Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon to help him out. Both Duchene and Mackinnon have scored twenty goals on the season, and are on pace to hit the sixty point mark this season. They also have four other guys that have scored double digit goals this season (Jarome Iginla, Tyson Barrie, Gabriel Landeskog, and Carl Soderberg).
For the most part, this team has most of the same pieces from the team two years ago (the one that was on fire all year long). So making a run late in the season would not surprise one bit. They have the capability, they just have to put it all together now and produce on the ice.
The Nashville Predators
With a point in their last 11 games, Nashville has now set the franchise record for points streak. This streak could not have come at a better time for this team. It looked like they were on the cusp of just completely falling out of the playoff race, but something changed, and now they are on a roll.
The biggest key to this streak has be the second line for this team. Filip Forsberg, Craig Smith, and Mike Ribeiro have all been playing lights out since the All-Star break. Forsberg recorded two natural hat tricks last week, and is on pace to break the franchise record for most goals in a season (Jason Arnott had 33). As far as Smith goes, something has lit a fire in him, because he has been playing like we all know he can. The good thing about Forsberg and Smith catching fire is that it takes the pressure off of Ribeiro. Now, Ribeiro can skate freely and create opportunities, which is what he is good at.
What excites me the most though about the Preds coming into the final stretch is that they have a potential of five guys that could hit the fifty point mark this season (Forsberg, Ribeiro, Roman Josi, Shea Weber, and James Neal). You can make that six if you include Ryan Johansen's stats from Columbus.
This team is now poised to make a run into the playoffs. This final month of the season is definitely going to an emotional roller coaster.
Drink Of Choice For Game Time
Since this is an early start time, I will be enjoying some Bloody Mary's at the start of this one.
Sights And Sounds
FS-TN for television and 102.5 The Game for radio. We have another early puck drop at 2:00 pm CST. Don't miss it!