Game 3: Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche on Monday April 16th on NBCSN at 10PM
Many people expected the Nashville Predators to be in this position. A vast majority of NHL fans picked the Nashville Predators as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup in June and as of right now the Predators have a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Colorado Avalanche. With the 2-0 lead in the series, the team travels on the road to Denver as they look to finish things off against the Avalanche. However, Saturdays game proved to many that the Avalanche may have a chance to win one of the next two games as they had the lead and nearly forced overtime before the Predators sealed the win 5-4.
Even though the Avalanche have lost both road games to start the series, the team is still confident that they can secure a home win after winning 28 games at home during the season. The Avalanche have a young center in Nathan MacKinnon, who has made a serious case this season to with the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP). However, he has not had much help from his line mates which include Mikko Rantanen and captain, Gabriel Landskog. Things don’t look good for the Avalanche because the Predators have won 12 straight games against them dating back to the 2015-16 season. This season looked to be different but the Avalanche lost three of their top players due to injuries. Being without defenseman Erik Johnson, goalie Semyon Varlamov, and rookie Samuel Girard may have hurt the team but the Avalanche have come together to make the games close.
Following Game one we may or may not have seen a rivalry between the two teams be created. During Game two of the series, there was a total of 14 penalties (7 per team) and the sudden surge of aggression and physicality may have been because of the hit between Nashville center, Ryan Johansen and Colorado defenseman, Tyson Barrie. The league did not agree that a penalty should have been enforced on Johansen for the hit and the Avalanche simply did not like that.
MacKinnon along with his line mates are incredibly fast and extremely talented and if they want to grab a win at home they will need to exploit the Predators defense which has showed very little weakness all season.
The young Avalanche squad knows that this is a do or die situation and that if they lose again tonight at home and allow the Predators a 3-0 advantage in the series that it will be nearly impossible to overcome.