Mikko Rantanen is back in the Colorado Avalanche lineup tonight against the Nashville Predators after recovering from what the team termed a non-COVID illness. He missed four games.
“Always after you’re sick, it takes a couple of days,” Rantanen said after the morning skate. “I’ve been on the ice that last three days, so it’s good.”
That was the main takeaway from the morning skate today, in what could be a possible first-round playoff preview. If the Avs beat the Predators in regulation tonight, the odds will get more heavily stacked toward the possibility that the Avs will play Matt Duchene, Roman Josi and the rest of the Preds in a best-of-seven series next week.
Dallas’s complete choke job last night against Arizona (3-0 lead in third period turns into 4-3 OT loss) only got them one point in the standings – though that point was good enough to clinch a playoff spot of their own. But Nashville can maintain the No. 7 seed in the standings with just one point against the Avs tonight. I think anyway. The tiebreakers almost always tie me up, as I’m so bad at math.
The Avs will play either Nashville or Dallas in the first round, we know now. Vegas is OUT. What a shame, eh?
While the Preds have Duchene, Josi, Filip Forsberg, etc., one guy they don’t have right now is starting goalie Juuse Saros. He’s got a lower-body injury and won’t play the next two games and some reports have said he’s looking very doubtful to play at all in the first round. So, that would obviously be a bad loss for Nashville in the playoffs, if he’s in fact out. David Rittich will play in goal for the Preds tonight.
OTHER NEWS, LINES, ETC.
- Gabe Landeskog skated with the boys this morning, in a red non-contact sweater. Here’s what Jared Bednar said on him: “Taking steps forward. Still, the plan is for him to be ready for Game 1.”
- Alex Newhook will get a night off, with Rantanen in tonight. Bednar said he’s been “pretty happy” with his play, but wants to see him shoot the puck more. “He has to get into scoring areas, to get his shot off.”
- The same defensive lineup from last game will go again tonight. Ryan Murray is not cleared to play again, but pretty close. Bednar said he’ll evaluate who should be in the top 6 on defense for the playoffs, as things get closer.
- Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for Colorado.
- Avs are whopping -290 favorites to win tonight, at SuperBook Colorado.