Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators
The Colorado Avalanche of course feature a former Toronto Maple Leafs favorite in Nazem Kadri and there will be plenty of interest around whether he ends up suspended as he so often has in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Colorado are the Western Conference form team; indeed they came mighty close to claiming the President’s Trophy. All expectations are that they should handle the Predators with some level of ease.
However, that doesn’t factor for the recent hot form of Mikael Granlund, who hit the playoffs with 9 points in his last 5 games. Never rule out the talent of Roman Josi on their blue-line either.
Looking at the very basic statistics though, it really will be Colorado’s game to lose.
At even strength, the Colorado Avalanche are a top-ten team in both Goals For and Goals Against. Likewise, they were the top goal scoring team on the powerplay in the regular season.
Nashville by comparison were right up there, with the fifth most Goals For on the powerplay but will find themselves challenged with the fourth-worst Goals Against on the penalty kill.
This makes them incredibly vulnerable to the roster depth that the Avalanche bring to the table.
The likes of Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin certainly wouldn’t look out of place on some teams’ first lines, such is the strength of the Avalanche top-six.
Let’s not forget that they also ice one of the most impressive young defensemen in the league in Cale Makar.
The Colorado Avalanche have been justly rewarded (unlike the Toronto Maple Leafs) for an impressive regular season and should take this series in 5.
Statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.