The Colorado Avalanche are currently down 2-1 to the Nashville Predators in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Many folks in the hockey world may have ruled the Avs out at the start of the series but let me tell you, the Avs have the ability to still win this series. The Avs have come out of the gate the past three games with an intensity that the Preds have had trouble matching. Colorado has scored first in all three games and have been using their speed to create opportunities. If it wasn’t for some minor mental lapses, fatigue and borderline dirty plays from the Preds, the Avs really could be leading the series.
The Predators are a team made up of players who are big, mean and have plenty of playoff experience, even though they haven’t been able to hoist Lord Stanley. With that being said, the only way I have seen the Predators stop the Avs so far, is with their physical and dirty play, which started right away in game one. The Preds clearly had a game plan. Hit Girard and Barrie, whether legal or not. Because of the physicality, Girard hasn’t been able to play in the past two games and will be out again tonight with an upper body injury, and Barrie has truly shown how big his cojones are. In game one Ryan Johansen was head hunting, and I mean literally. As Barrie came down the ice, Johansen lined Barrie up, clearly went up high and sent Barrie into a helicopter before hitting the ice, leaving all Avs faithful cringing. Somehow the refs let it go and the league didn’t even review the play. Luckily for Avs fans Barrie was able to shake it off.
Ooof this was a questionable hit by Ryan Johansen on Tyson Barrie pic.twitter.com/4VdXrg4psD
— Fitz (@FitzGSN_) April 13, 2018
To make matters worse for Tyson, in game 2 he took a puck to the face knocking out some teeth. Tyson just put on a longer visor and didn’t miss a shift… talk about a classic hockey guy move.
If you watched game 3, it was obvious that the Preds game plan only changed a little. Rather than targeting our young defenseman, they started to target Nathan Mackinnon… P.K. Subban that is. Everyone talks about how good of a guy P.K. is off the ice but he sure is acting like a fucking goon on the ice. In game three, Subban mugged Nathan Mackinnon, blindsiding and clocking him in the face. To make matters worse, he was quoted saying, “I’d do it again next game.” Really PK? You are one of the best defenseman in the league and you have to resort to that bullshit? I guess Mackinnon is just too good for you to play real defense against. I can’t wait for tonight when the entire Pepsi Center starts chanting “PK Sucks,” and the Avs bring the heat.
Tonight is the night that the Avs can tie up the series. They need to come out like they have the past three games and attack the Preds and score on Pekka Rinne early. They need to find a way to keep their intensity throughout the entire game and not sit back on their heels during the third period. The Preds are too good of a team to just sit back on a lead. I was definitely nervous during that third period in game 3, luckily the Avs had a big enough lead and escaped with the win. Our number one line needs to keep producing and players like Bourque and Comeau need to keep playing with the fire they have been.
I truly believe if the Avs take home a W tonight, we will have a good shot at winning the series. The Preds will feel deflated and the Avs can take advantage of their momentum and “smash” the Preds in Nashville.