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Game 43: Colorado @ Nashville – Familiar Foe


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Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It has been only two days since the Predators and Avalanche clashed in what would turn out to be a shelling of a first period (3 goals) and the Predators coming away with a 4-1 win at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche are looking for some momentum building after going 8-2-0 before the Tuesday game. Nashville is looking to continue it’s stellar play with Pekka Rinne changing back to last year’s mask and last year’s ways of stopping the puck.

Some people have been calling this a mini-playoff, if so Nashville has the upper hand and it will be up to the Avalanche to try and fend off what has been a relentless PP for the Nashville Predators while figuring out a way to solve the puzzle that is Pekka Rinne.

This Year’s Series: 1-0-0 (Home 0-0-0, Away 1-0-0)

Looking at the Avalanche: Semyon Varlamov had a shaky night on Tuesday allowing 4 goals. Two were hard to track and perfect screen attempts, but the other two were able to be seen the whole way down. Erat and Hornqvist put beautiful shots on net to score, but Varlamov has to do a better job of snagging those pucks from the air…something Rinne knows all too well.

Ryan O’Reilly continued to produce for the Avalanche tallying their lone goal. The Avs did put on a shooting gallery in the second period and were it not for exceptional goaltending from Pekka Rinne, the tide might have turned to the Avalanche.

Looking at the Predators: Ryan Ellis continues to impress with four points in his last two games, firing a blistering PP slapshot for his goal and a hrad feed to Hornqvist in the slot for an assist Tuesday night. Having Josi and Ellis available on the PP not only lessens the load of Weber/Suter, but the PP is scoring with Josi/Ellis on the ice.

The streak also continues for Nick Spaling. When Spaling scores a goal, the Predators are 12-0-1, never losing in regulation. Tootoo is still blowing his season high point total away with another assist in Tuesday’s match.

For the Avalanche to win: The Avalanche will need to play the whole 60 minutes like they played the second period on Tuesday. The Avs kept the pressure throughout the entire period and peppered Rinne with quality scoring chances.

Watch for Colorado to continue with the four man front moving into the offensive zone; the Predators had some trouble keeping up with those kind of numbers heading their way.

It is imperative for Varlamov to start playing above his potential for the Avalanche to have any shot at breaking into playoff contention. Relying on Giguere is not the way for Colorado to start advancing.

For the Predators to win: Play a solid 60 minutes. The first period on Tuesday was Predator hockey in it’s truest form. The rest of the game was a lesson in letting off the gas and giving your opponent time and space which usually ends with disastrous results.

Craig Smith needs to be towards the top of the order in playing time. Having him on the fourth line is limiting his offensive opportunities as he has played amazing hockey with the likes of Hornqvist and Wilson on the top two lines.

There is talk that Fisher may have a nagging injury to his arm/shoulder. Hopefully this is not the case as a healthy Fisher is a huge bonus for the Predators, but an injury to the arm/shoulder could be why Fisher was not taking draws in the latter part of the Colorado game.

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