Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators
Seth Jones Out
This was going to be the final rookie matchup between #1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and #4 overall pick Seth Jones. Before the draft, many people thought that the Avs should’ve taken Jones, but those critics have been silenced with MacKinnon’s play this year. Unfortunately for the Predators and fans of good hockey, Jones is suffering from a possibly concussion and likely won’t play the rest of the rest. We can only hope that Jones fully recovers and is able to continue what should be a promising career without anymore head injury setbacks.
Three Days Off
The Avalanche haven’t played since Friday night, meaning they’ve had an extended weekend away from the competition. Winless in their last three, this is probably a good thing for the team. Hopefully they’ve taken the time to refocus and regroup, ready to go against a team that is well below them in the standings. They might not have their legs early, but as the game progress, expect the young Avs to start flying and giving the Predators a lot of trouble.
Penalty Kill Woes
Despite their average record, the Predators have the 11th ranked power play in the league thanks in large part to Shea Weber. If his rocket from the point doesn’t find the back of the net, it usually creates a large rebound that can be picked up by a player in front. Weber has 46 points on the year with 24 (10 goals, 14 assists) of those points coming on the power play. The Avalanche penalty kill is ranked 25th on the season and has been very bad as of late. Either they need to stay out of the box or somehow contain Weber when down a man.
The Avs were shutout for the first time all season in their last game. It wasn’t due to a lack of work or chances either. The puck just didn’t go in for them. Will this carry over? This is a young team who has been used to scoring all season and that finally ended on Friday. I’d like to think that it won’t hurt their confidence, but if they get chances early and aren’t able to capitalize, will the sticks be gripped tighter and will the shots start getting finer? We’ll find out against Nashville.
The Chicago Blackhawks are 3 points up on the Avs, who have a game in hand, for 2nd place in the division. The first round showdown between these two teams is inevitable, but home ice likely won’t be decided until the final week, perhaps the final game. That’s if the Avs can keep pace. To keep pace, they have to beat teams that are below them in the standings and snap this losing streak.
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