Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators First Round Series Preview

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The playoffs are finally here and the Colorado Avalanche is looking for a revenge tour. After last year’s disappointing end to the year, they’ll be looking to keep the pace to finally go on a long run. The Nashville Predators are also looking for their own win. After being eliminated from the first round by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Preds are going strong against the Avs – even though they’ll be without Juuse Saros. The real question is: do they stand a chance against the strong Colorado team? That’s what will be discussed next when looking at the Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators series preview.

Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators First Round Preview

No Juuse Saros Magic

Last year’s first-round series against Carolina was madness. Even though it only got to Game 6, all games were entertaining to watch, especially because of Saros. Now, their starter sustained an injury in the last few games of the regular season and Nashville won’t be able to rely on him. At least, not for the first round. But to even consider a second for the Preds might be a long shot with Saros out. They’ll have to start David Rittich, who didn’t have the best year for them. He has a 6-3-4 record with a 3.57 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage. Against an extremely offensive team like the Avalanche, that will likely be a recipe for a disaster. But who knows, it’s the playoffs and things get crazy around this time of the year!

Kuemper Has A Career-High Season

After spending the past five years in Arizona, Darcy Kuemper is having an A+ season. The 31-year-old was traded to Colorado in July 2021 and the change of scenarios has been fantastic for the goaltender. He started 57 out of the 82 regular-season games – and has a 37-12-4 record. To say Colorado has been too good to him – and the other way around too – is an understatement.  He got a five-game winning streak in April (six if the game on March 29 is counted too) and was brilliant all season long. If he’ll repeat the regular-season success in the playoffs is still unknown. But if he does, the goaltending matchup in this series won’t be very fair!

Norris Trophy Matchup: Makar vs. Josi

Now that’s where the fun start getting real. The Cale Makar vs. Roman Josi playoff matchup is everything a hockey fan could’ve asked for. The two front runners for the Norris Trophy playing against each other in the playoffs? Yes, please! Both players had an insane regular season in the offensive game. But for this series, they’ll have to be really good at defence too. And that might sound dumb because they’re both defencemen but Josi’s defensive play is dropping a lot for the past couple of seasons. He’ll need to try and bounce back to face a team that suffocates their opponents in the offensive zone.

Josi is a very skilled passer and play-driver plus he has a great shot. But the thing is, Makar is all of the above but his defensive game is absurdly better. The younger defenceman also plays against much tougher players and in the penalty kill, things that Josi hasn’t done. With that, the matchup between these two will be very interesting to watch!

Series Prediction

The Avalanche will take this one in five. And it won’t be a sweep because Nashville will probably win the middle home game because their fans are incredibly supportive and loud. That makes a huge difference. But the truth is, without Saros there’s not much left for the Preds to do against the Avalanche besides defending the best they can and trying to score as many goals as possible. Of course, they’re very capable of doing that, they’ve shown it throughout the regular season. But they’ll also face a fully healthy Colorado that doesn’t give their opponents much space for mistakes. And Nashville will need to be perfect because counting on Rittich might not be the best idea ever. Things can take a different turn but all signs point to an Avalanche series win this season.

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