A busy card tonight in the NHL with 11 games. The Nashville Predators will visit Pepsi Center in Denver to play against the Colorado Avalanche. Can the Avs finally overcome the abscense of two key players?
Avs are on a 5-game losing streak
The Colorado Avalanche were looking like a force to be reckoned with during the early season, but at the moment they're on a 5-match losing streak. The main reason for their poor results is the abscense of winger Mikko Rantanen (5 goals, 7 assists) and captain Gabriel Landeskog (3 goals, 4 assists). It's well-known that Colorado is a a one-line team and their key players are sorely missed.
During their losing streak the Avalanche scored 7 times and condeded no less than 18 goals. Goalie Philipp Grubauer played on a high level last season, but he has not yet succeeded in distinguishing himself during the less succesful period of his team. Tonight backup goalie Pavel Francouz will get the start, he's 2-2-0, with a goals against average of 2.73.
Preds won 5 out of last 6
The Nashville Predators have managed to make a good impression during the first month of the new NHL season. They're 5 points behind the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division, although they've played games less than their division rivals. Especially at home Nashville got some nice results. Their 6-2-2 home record belongs to the best of the NHL and the team sitting near the top in all scoring categories this season, averaging 4.0 goals per game.
It's widely known that the Predators perform better in their own barn than during away matches, but recent wins in Tampa Bay and Detroit should give them some confidence. It's surprising to see that Nashville’s top two players – Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis – are defensemen and the team still doesn’t have a No. 1 center. At the moment it looks like the Preds don't need a 40-goal scorer, 'cause they have a well-balanced attack.
Avs losing streak will hit 6 games
The long-term absence of the Avs' two star players Rantanen and Landeskog is a huge blow for head coach Jared Bednar. The team is desperately looking for a win, but their replacements are simply not productive enough. Tonight they will face an opponent who looks really well-balanced in defense and attack. Avs will use their backup goalie, while Rinne will start for the Preds. Nashville is red hot, so I see them winning their third away game in a row.