Avalanche look to cool off Predators
The Colorado Avalanche went to Canada last week in search of four points but came away with one against Calgary and Vancouver.
They should have had four, but late collapses in both games turned a potential 2-0-0 swing into a 0-1-1 result. Colorado (7-4-3) has had four days to get that bad taste out of its mouth, and now has to focus on playing the best team in the NHL.
The Nashville Predators (11-3-0) are in town Wednesday night riding a three-game winning streak and the most points in the league. It's the first meeting since Nashville eliminated Colorado in six games in the first round of the playoffs last year, and the Predators look as formidable now as they did in April.
"They're a good team, great (defensive) corps, quite a few forwards that can score, great goalie," forward Colin Wilson said this week. "But I like the way we matched up against them last year, the way we played against them. We were really strong. It should be a good game (Wednesday)."
Wilson has firsthand knowledge of Nashville, having played for the organization before signing with Colorado in the summer of 2017. He knows how deep the team is, from the forwards to goaltender Pekke Rinne, who signed a two-year contract extension on Saturday.
The Predators are a deep team, too, and that depth has been tested with the absence of forward Viktor Arvidsson.
Arvidsson, the team's third-leading scorer, has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury. He was placed on injured reserve Monday, retroactive to last week, so he is eligible to return against the Avalanche.
Ryan Hartman skated on the top line with Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen during practice Monday and could be there Wednesday. His solid play this season is a reason that coach Peter Laviolette is willing to try him there.
"It's just mixing it up a little bit, trying to find the right guy," Laviolette told The Tennessean on Tuesday. "(Hartman) has warranted it, the way he's played the last few games, his speed (and) the way he's chipped in offensively."
As good as Nashville's top line is, Colorado's trio is the highest scoring in the NHL. The three are all in the top eight in points in the NHL entering Tuesday's action, with winger Mikko Rantanen first with 24 points. Nathan MacKinnon has 21 points and Gabe Landeskog 18. MacKinnon and Landeskog are tied for second in the NHL with 11 goals apiece.
The three are a big reason Colorado entered Tuesday tied with Calgary with the most goals in the league with 52.
The top line has carried the team, but the Avalanche have started to get secondary scoring from its other lines and the defensive corps. Sheldon Dries and Vadislav Kamenev each scored their first NHL goals in Calgary.
Those two got opportunities because of injuries to J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost. Both are dealing with head injuries, with Jost closer to returning. Forward Sven Andrighetto is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.