Colorado Avalanche Move Along to the Music City

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The Colorado Avalanche will be facing the Nashville Predators for the first time this season tonight, and they will be in for a tough contest.

The picture above marks the passion that needs to be brought to this game! Let’s go boys!

Unlike the Colorado Avalanche, the Predators have been having a good season.

They’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but with the combination of their relentless group of defensemen, top-tier goaltending, and a rather surprising forward group, the Predators pose a formidable threat.

They currently sit with 35 points and at No. 3 in the Division, but there is no safe spot in this division, and a win tonight will be tough.

In fact, a win in any of the next three games will be difficult to muster. Tonight marks game one of a back-to-back this weekend — St. Louis is on the docket tomorrow.

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On Tuesday the Avalanche will play the Chicago Blackhawks. These next three games are make or break for the Avalanche. If they can hold their heads above water, then the season and a dim hope of the playoffs continues to twinkle ever so slightly.

If they botch the next three games, barring any miracles, it will be an early summer again. Tonight the test starts against a tough Nashville team, so let’s get to the details.

Game Notes

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— Puck drop is at 6:00pm Mountain Time.

— The Colorado Avalanche come into the contest having gone a middling 5-5 over the last 10, while Nashville has gone 4-6 in their last 10, so both teams need to set things straight.

— The Colorado Avalanche are 5-3-1 against the Predators in the past two seasons, so hopefully they can add to the win column tonight.

–The Nashville Predators are coming off of a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, and the Avalanche are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Penguins on Wednesday night.

Both teams will certainly be rested, but Nashville has to be pleased with their win, while Colorado has to hope for a big division win.

As always, there are key players on both clubs who will either be spotlighted, or key to their teams victory.

Players to Watch

Matt Duchene got another goal against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, and now he has 3 in the month of December. The Colorado Avalanche are 2-1 when he’s scored during this month.

Filip Forsberg has been a fun player since his breakout rookie campaign last year. He’s a crucial part of Nashville’s success because he provides a lot of scoring for a group of forwards that doesn’t have that much skill.

Semyon Varlamov will be in net for the Colorado Avalanche tonight, and if he continues to play well like he has in recent games, then the Colorado Avalanche could be in for a turnaround.

— There’s no word on who will start for the Predators, but barring any injuries in practice, Pekka Rinne should be a safe bet for the call in tonight’s contest. He has been a pivotal cog in the Predators’ success for awhile now, and he continues to fill that roll.

As is always noted when these two teams play, spotlights will be on forward Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Seth Jones, drafted No. 1 and No.4 overall — respectively — in the same year.

The Colorado Avalanche could have drafted Seth Jones with the first pick, but they chose MacK instead, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nonetheless, Seth Jones is having a good career so far, and the Avs could certainly use some defensive help right now.

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Also, per the Colorado Avalanche website, Gabriel Landeskog is being evaluated further, and his status is up in the air for tonight’s game at the time of writing this.

So, keep an eye on Landy because that top line missed his presence on Wednesday. If he is a no-go, then Mikhail Grigorenko will fill in on the top line, but there’s no telling how long that will last because it didn’t last long on Wednesday night.

Regardless, Colorado Avalanche fans are in for a show tonight, hopefully we can get a win.

Keys to Colorado Avalanche Success

They’re pretty simple folks, so get ready:

— Possess the puck

— Limit the shots against

— Clog the neutral zone

— Find ways to beat Nashville’s defense

— Stay away from turnovers

Simple, I told you, but they are necessary for the Colorado Avalanche right now because aside from a few games, the Colorado Avalanche seem to be missing the basics when they play hockey. Luckily, they’re back on the road where they have played some pretty good hockey.

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If Varly plays well, then I give the Colorado Avalanche a good chance to win tonight. The Preds can certainly score in bunches, but if we play structured and let Varly see the puck, then this team does not have the skill up front to beat us.

Which is what brings me to my next point. A lot of times, when the Avs play this team, the Preds score a lot from the points and get consistent contributions from their defensemen. The Avs need to play tight to the point, and put pressure on the back-end in their own zone if they want to win.

All in all, it’s still a hockey night, and that always makes things better, so here’s to the Colorado Avalanche and a hopeful victory folks!

What do you think Avs nation? What does Colorado need to do to win this game? Who will provide the scoring for the Avalanche? Who will net the first goal? Let us know in your comments!