Preview: Avs look to keep it rolling against the struggling Predators
Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images
Tonight’s game is a story of two teams going in opposite directions. Exactly one week ago, it felt like the sky was falling on the Colorado Avalanche. They had lost five of their last seven by a combined score of 31-15, and were coming off what seemed to be their worst loss since the ignominious 48-point season, getting blown out of their own building by the St. Louis Blues, 8-2 and “quitting” according to Jared Bednar.
What a difference a week makes, as the Avs responded to the embarrassing Blues loss by cruising past newly-minted rival Seattle 5-1, destroying rebuilding Anaheim 8-2, and then winning the biggest game of the season with six unanswered goals in Dallas to come back from a 3-0 deficit this weekend.
The spark for this recent turnaround doesn’t seem like anything particularly obvious. The Avalanche are just playing better hockey and playing a more even-keel style. The St. Louis game was an unmitigated disaster, with players panicking left and right and creating and endless array of odd-man rushes. Against Dallas on Saturday night, the Avs had another opportunity to panic and get out of their game going down 3-0, but they stuck to their game and grinded their way back into it.
Toyota Game Recap: After ending the first period down by three goals the Avalanche started their comeback in the second ending the night with a 6-3 win. pic.twitter.com/YoKZgbrany— AltitudeTV (@AltitudeTV) November 19, 2023
It was the kind of hockey Avalanche fans have come to associate with this team, and it should be interesting to see if they can keep it up going into a game which has the potential to be a letdown game for the Avs. The lineup should stay the same as Saturday night as there is no new news on injured players like Josh Manson, although he could get back in the lineup, and Ryan Johansen will make his return to the city he spent last eight years in.
#Avs Ryan Johansen on returning to Nashville for Predators game tonight:“It’s weird, for sure. I’m not going to lie.” pic.twitter.com/nmWg2BnNh7— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) November 20, 2023
Valeri Nichushkin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Jonathan Drouin — Ryan Johansen — Tomas Tatar
Miles Wood — Ross Colton — Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano — Fredrik Olofsson — Joel Kiviranta
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bo Byram — Sam Girard
Jack Johnson — Caleb Jones
Coming into this season, the expectation in Nashville was that this would be a rebuilding year, and their struggles the last month have confirmed that belief. They have lost seven of their last ten games and have allowed four or more goals in five of their last eight. Nashville has wins against playoff teams from lats year like Toronto, Seattle, Edmonton and the New York Rangers, so they are not complete and total pushovers, and that’s before you get to the fact that Juuse Saros is still one of the league’s best goaltenders and can steal any game he plays. Additionally, Nashville’s top line, centered by old friend Ryan O’Reilly, is still incredibly dangerous and they still have one of the best defenseman in the league in Roman Josi. This has the potential to be a letdown game for the Avs, and it should be instructive to see how they approach a dangerous team that they should still beat.
Filip Forsberg - Ryan O’Reilly - Gustav Nyquist
Kiefer Sherwood - Cody Glass - Juuso Parssinen
Yakov Trenin - Colton Sissons - Liam Foudy
Cole Smith - Michael McCarron - Philip Tomasino
Roman Josi - Dante Fabbro
Jeremy Lauzon - Alexandre Carrier
Spencer Stastney - Tyson Barrie
As of this writing, there are no announced starters, but it’s a safe bet to assume that Juuse Saros will play for Nashville, as he sat on Saturday night after playing five of Nashville’s last six. Alexander Georgiev has started every single game this year for the Avalanche except for two, so while he is still a safe bet to start on any given night, if Jared Bednar is looking to get him a night off this week and get Ivan Prosvetov some work, this game is his best opportunity as the Avs have tougher matchups against Vancouver, Minnesota and Calgary later this week....
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