The playoff hungry Nashville Predators will look to bolster their resume against the lowly Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. The Preds are currently 28-22-9 and hanging on to a wildcard in the Western Conference. In fact, they have the 1st wildcard, with the Calgary Flames in possession of the 2nd wildcard at the moment.
By seasons end, I think it’s going to take more than four games above .500 to reach the playoffs. In any event, the Western Conference is lacking behind the Eastern Conference when it comes to talent. Note that the Rangers are 38-17-2 and have just a wildcard to show for it right now.
It’s a different world out in the west, where a mediocre record is good enough to be able to make the postseason. All the powerhouses are in the east, but we’ll see how everything shapes up over the next few months. You can never really discount the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Minnesota Wild haven’t had a team with this much firepower since the NHL returned to Minnesota. The Blackhawks have done a number on them in the postseason in recent memory, so we’ll see if anything changes this year.
Our pick this evening will feature the Predators, along with the Avalanche. For the Avs, they just want to get this season over with. It’s been a disaster, as they enter Nashville with a putrid record of 16-39-2. Two years removed from being a contender, and now the Avs are looking at this mess. More than anything, it’s going to be interesting to see what this team does at the trade deadline. Despite their horrific record, there is still talent on the Avalanche.
Notably, Matt Duchene is going to be a hot commodity on the free agent and or trade market. It’s clear he needs a change of scenery, and may be looking at playing with a playoff team if he gets lucky. For tonight though, let’s get straight to our Avalanche vs. Predators pick on Thursday night.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators Pick
Duchene is still a young, talented player, he is going to garner some attention from plenty of teams. The Avs should be able to get something decent in return for him. He’s scored 16 goals and 20 assists for an okay resume. I suspect those numbers would look much better on a good team. We’ll see if he moves to a good team. It doesn’t get much worse than in Colorado, though.
There seems to be a major discord in the locker room going on. They are playing disjointed hockey with no identity. It’s led to them being dead last in the NHL, scoring just 1.97 goals per game. Additionally, they’re last defensively too, allowing an average of 3.29 goals per game. Total slop, total dysfunction going on in Colorado.
The Avs have gone 1-7 in their last eight games, which has been pretty typical for them this season. The Predators are coming off a hard fought 6-5 loss to the Flames in overtime. They are 16-7-5 at home and have a nice 5-0 winning streak over the Avs in their last five meetings. I don’t see how the Avalanche don’t get rolled up tonight. For our Thursday night NHL pick, we’re going with the Predators to defeat the Avalanche easily.
PICK: PREDATORS -1.5 (+115)