The NHL has three games on Wednesday night. One of the top games will be between Central Division rivals, Colorado and Nashville. The game will be on NBCSN. This will be the first of four matchups between the Predators and the Avalanche this season. I expect a solid opening game for their season series.
Nashville has started out the new NHL season with an 11-3 record. The Predators are on top of the NHL to start out the season. Nashville has won their last three games in a row. The Predators have had a strong start in defending their President’s Trophy campaign last season.
The Avalanche have gone 7-4-3 to start out the new season, which has them in third place of the Central Division. Colorado has lost three games in a row and gone 1-3-1 in their last five games. The Avalanche will host this game before going on the road for two games in Western Canada. Colorado just got back from a three-game road trip.
Nashville and Colorado are divisional opponents, which mean they meet plenty throughout the season. I expect this game to be close because of how both these teams are playoff contenders. Nashville has been a super solid team this season, but I believe that Colorado could hand them a loss on Wednesday night.
Last Season’s Matchups
The Predators and Avalanche met up four times in the regular season last season. The first game of the season was held in Nashville. Viktor Arvidsson and Roman Josi each scored a goal and added an assist in route to a 4-1 win. Pekka Rinne had a great night, turning away 20 of 21 shots.
Colorado hosted the second game of the season series. The Avalanche had a better offensive performance, scoring three goals, but it was not enough. Ryan Ellis scored a goal and added two assists in the Predators win. Filip Forsberg scored the overtime winner to give Nashville a 4-3 win.
The third game of the season series was also in Colorado. Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons each scored two goals in route to the Predators third win of the season series. Juuse Saros had 33 saves in route to a 4-2 win.
The final game between these two teams in the regular season was in Nashville. Andrei Mironov had a goal and an assist for Colorado, but it was not enough. Kevin Fiala, Roman Josi, Craig Smith and P.K. Subban each had two points in the Predators win. Pekka Rinne turned away 29 of 31 shots. Nashville ended up winning 5-2.
Nashville swept the Avalanche in the regular season series between these two teams. These two teams met up again in the first round of the playoffs. Colorado put up a decent fight against the President’s Trophy Champions, but in the end, Nashville took the series in six games.
I believe Colorado will be out for revenge on Wednesday night. The Avalanche got swept in the season series and then knocked out of the playoffs by the Predators. Colorado will look to get back on track with a win against the Predators at home. I believe this will bring a lot of emotion into the game.
Nashville’s special teams have been extremely disappointing considering they are the top team in the NHL. The Predators have scored on only 12 percent of their power play opportunities. Nashville is a little below the league average on penalty kill as they have stopped their opponent’s 78 percent of the time. I have difficulty believing that Nashville can stay at the top of the NHL if their special teams does not improve.
The Avalanche have had a pretty solid power play and penalty kill to start out the season. Colorado has scored on the power play 26 percent of the time to begin this season. The Avalanche have stopped 85 percent of their penalty kills. Colorado is above the league average on both sides of special teams.
Colorado has clearly been the better team on special teams this season. This could give the Avalanche the advantage they need to win on Wednesday night. Colorado has taken a lot of penalties this season, which could give the Predators some opportunities to get their own power play going.
I expect Pekka Rinne to get the start in net on Wednesday night. Both of the goalies on Nashville’s roster are dangerous, but Rinne has been especially good this season. He has posted a 5-1 record with two shutouts this season. Rinne has a save percentage of .948 and a 1.63 GAA.
Semyon Varlamov will likely get the start in net for the Avalanche on Wednesday night. Varlamov has a .936 save percentage and a GAA of 2.12 to start out the season. He has gone 4-3-2 in his starts. Varlamov has started out the season with some solid numbers. His record is not the best, but he could look to fix it with a tough win against Nashville.
I believe that the Avalanche will need to put up a top-notch offensive performance to get the win on Wednesday night. While Varlamov is playing well to start out the season, I do not see him beating Rinne in a low scoring game.
The Avalanche are entering on a losing streak, which does not bode well. They are coming home after a road-trip, which may help. I also believe Colorado will be playing with a lot of emotion to get some revenge. The Predators dominated the Avalanche last season and I believe Colorado will look to turn that around early this season.
BetOnline has Nashville listed at a money line of -115. The Predators are on the road, but have earned the right to be the favorite in this game. I believe that there is a lot of value in Colorado as a home underdog though. The Avalanche have come close to breaking that losing streak, and I believe they do so on Wednesday night.