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Game 82: Nashville @ Colorado – Will It Be 4th or 5th?


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Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The final regular season game is here and the Avalanche have the unique ability to try and play spoiler to Nashville getting home ice advantage.

The Predators control their fate: a regulation win or an overtime loss solidifies 4th place and home ice. A regulation loss with a Detroit win gets the Predators 5th. A Detroit loss in regulation means the Predators as the 4th seed would face Chicago in the first round of playoffs.

It’s about to get very interesting today as all 30 teams are playing and looking ahead to next week. Puck drop is 8 P.M. Central. FS Tennessee has Pete and Terry on the call and 102.5 the Game has radio coverage with Tom Callahan and Stu Grimson.

This Year’s Series: 3-0-0 (Home 2-0-0) (Away 1-0-0)

Looking at the Avalanche: After losing to the Blue Jackets 5-2, the Avalanche were effectively eliminated from playoff contention. The Avalanche were making headway in the Western Conference but an injury to one of their star players, Matt Duchene, seemed to be the turning point of the season.

Colorado, however, did get a huge effort from Gabriel Landeskog, who many believe is the front-runner for the Calder Trophy this year. Landeskog has 22 goals, 52 points and is an impressive +22 on a team where the next closest player is a +12 (Ryan Wilson). His +22 has him 17th in the league and his total shots ranks him 16th.

Looking at the Predators: Another tight game saw Nashville skate away with a 2-0 shutout of the Dallas Stars and end their chances of a playoff berth. The Predators third line with Hornqvist, Spaling and Bourque have a ton of jump and proved their worth Thursday night. Bouillon scored his 4th goal of the season and third in the last 6 games.

This win put the Predators in complete control of their placement in the standings. As long as the Predators get at least one point today, they have 4th place locked up and home-ice in at least the first round of the playoffs.

For the Avalanche to win: With Colorado not really playing for much except pride and a win for the home crowd, the Avalanche will probably come out loose and fast. As long as they don’t open up too much for Nashville to take advantage of odd-man rushes, Colorado could overwhelm Nashville with speed and well-placed shots from Landeskog, Stastny, O’Reilly and Jones. McClement could also sneak down to join the play. Also Jamie McGinn could be a factor as he has 13 points in 16 games with Colorado since the trade deadline.

For the Predators to win: The Predators will know before the start of the game whether or not they will have to earn the point to get into 4th or not (the Chicago/Detroit game starts at noon). The Predators still need to make a statement going into the playoffs that a hard nosed defense and scoring by committee that has worked for them all year is alive and well and their opponents had better take note.

Hornqvist grabbed his team-leading 25th goal of the year on Thursday night. Rinne got his 5th shutout and free donuts for the departing crowd. The Predators need support and a show from it’s top line of Erat/Fisher/S.Kostitsyn. This line has been pretty quiet lately and it would be nice to see them start to heat up right before going into the playoffs.

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