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Avalanche to play Nashville Predators in first round of playoffs



David Zalubowski/AP

All the Nashville Predators had to do to avoid a first-round playoff matchup with the Colorado Avalanche was hold on to a 4-0 lead in regulation against the Arizona Coyotes tonight. And, the Predators could have even avoided playing the Avs by just getting the game to overtime if it came to it.

But an absolutely epic collapse by Nashville in a regulation loss to the Coyotes means they slipped to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference as the regular season ended, and thus will play the Avs a best-of-seven series starting Tuesday night at Ball Arena.

Here is the schedule:

It will be the Avs’ second meeting with the Predators in their playoff history, the last time coming in 2018 when Nashville won in six games. The Avs were a heavy underdog that season, and now the roles are reversed. Nashville comes into the postseason not only with this horrible loss under their belt, but they have no No. 1 goalie. Starter Juuse Saros has a lower-body injury that some reports have said makes him highly doubtful to play in the first round.

It looked for most of the night  the Avs would play Dallas in the first round, but the Predators simply collapsed against Arizona and failed to get the point they needed to clinch the first wild-card spot.

Frankly, I think the Avs got the better end of this deal tonight. I think the Avs match up better with Nashville than Dallas, who still have some big, tough players that are a handful in playoff-type games. They get a team with a serious issue now in goal, with David Rittich and Connor Ingram now the top two Preds goalies.

The Avs rested several top players in this one, including Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar. While the Avs played a pretty good game overall, Marc-Andre Fleury outplayed Pavel Francouz and that was the main difference.

Nazem Kadri scored the only goal for the Avs, who finished first overall in the Western Conference with 119 points.

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The records go back to 0-0 now, and the Avs haven’t exactly inspired confidence with their play in the last two weeks. Will any of it matter in the playoffs, though, especially for an Avs team that might have a full roster by Game 1 against Nashville?

Along with MacKinnon and Makar, the Avs gave rests to Valeri Nichushkin, Devon Toews, Bo Byram and Darcy Kuemper.

The Avs continue to maintain that they are expecting captain Gabe Landeskog to return for Game 1 against the Predators.

The Avs seemed to emerge from the game with Minnesota with no new injuries, despite it being a chippy game at times. In fact, the Wild seemed to suffer the most physical damage, as Avs enforcer Kurtis MacDermid put Wild forward Marcus Foligno out with an open-ice hit that resulted in a 5-minute major.

Avs coach Jared Bednar said he thought the hit was more of an incidental hockey hit than anything. It’s possible, though, MacDermid could face supplemental discipline.

Bednar said this on the hit: “I see our guy going in to get both the man and the puck. He’s headed to the wall. Foligno gets a touch on it, our guy goes in kind of spread out, Foligno gets a touch on it then tries to get out of the way.”

About the game, and his coaching personnel decisions, Bednar said: “Resting guys was a no-brainer. In the standings, it didn’t mean anything for us.”

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Yan Girard

Unbelievable! I fell asleep thinking that the games were done. I am very glad to see Nashville and Duchene in first round! It will be very interesting. I hope that Saros will be restored which will be even more interesting. I love see this goalie.

Last edited 4 months ago by Alexander A
Matt Briggle

This is going to be an interesting series. The season series between these two teams was no where near an accurate assessment of their respective capabilities including that crazy Avs dressing 15 skaters and no back up goalie right before they got shut down for Covid in December and the too many men on the ice mystery. Based on the game a few days ago, the Avs better buckle up tight and be prepared to play against a team that is going to hit every thing that moves on the ice. Keep their cool, don’t retaliate, and get that PP… Read more »

Bob Neal

There was never question what Cooke’s intention was. I sure didn’t see that in the MacDermid hit.


We will keep winning games as long as we score more than the three or four goals that our opponents will score against us each night.

Ryan Krueger

Interesting that on Sportsnet most fans see Dallas as an easier matchup for the Flames. Avs need to take advantage of Rittich and not turn him into a Cary Price. It is clear Nashville has size and can score. Kuemper cannot let softies in like he did the other night. Also seems to me Duchene has bulked up. Will Sturm ever score a goal? Cogliano?

Last edited 4 months ago by Ryan Krueger

That call against Dermie was the stripes sending a message. After the LOC/Duhaime tilly, they likely figured the game may turn into a bloodbath if they leave Dermie to his own devices.

I hope Foligno is okay, but he would have been fine if he’d just taken the hit he knew was coming.


Payback is a bitch, ya Minny? Remember the Tyson Barrie hit? MUCH worse than the one last night. Remember the Greenway hit to the head of Kuemper earlier this year? Keep MacDermid in the lineup the whole way. With our luck, he will get suspended, but he needs to be in then lineup when available, no ifs and or buts. The hunted needs to be the hunter in this game.

Jeffrey Anderson

AD gets his wish. A lot of interesting matchups: Cale v Josi, Mac Dog v Ekholm, Preds PK v Avs PP as Nashville will be running around. Will Captain our Captain be effective after 2 months off with repaired knee? Will Saros play? Can the Avs keep Duchene from scoring 2 goals every game? Should be fun, and hope the Avs bring it!


Did the Preds really collapse, or did they see the Avs as a better matchup? I just have a hard time with 5 unanswered goals by the last place Coyotes.

Yan Girard

You don’t begin a game as strong by scoring 4 goals in less than 7 minutes in first period when you want lose the game. In more, the Preds wouldn’t look as team that wanted lose against Avs last Thursday.

Last edited 4 months ago by Alexander A
Cal G

What’s worse is that they scored the 4 goals to begin with. I mean, if they were really trying to get that matchup with the Avs. That’s quite a hole to dig themselves into, if that’s what they wanted. Luckily, as you point out, they gave up the 5 unanswered goals.

Glendon Gulliver

Saying the quiet part out loud is that Minnesota has a lot of goons that would have loved to hurt the Avs star players. Keeping the stars out of the lineup was more than just giving them a rest. It was to protect them against intentional injury. Looking at the replays of MacDermid’s hit, it did not look like an intentional hit to injure. MacDermid turned sideways and was lined up to hit Foligno head on. Foligno turned to the left and caught MacDermid’s leg. What is surprising is that MacDermid did not get injured in the collision. The side… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Glendon Gulliver
Travis Voth

Ok – somewhat new to hockey, I have a newbie question. In the NFL, if a team knows they will be seeing a team early in the playoffs, they go vanilla game-planning as to not give away new plays or a new strategy. Is this something seen in the NHL prior to the playoffs?

Matt Briggle

Hi Travis, welcome to the wonderful world of hockey we’re happy to have you here. I guess the answer to your question is a combination of yes and no. The NFL playoffs are single game events, so yes there is a benefit there to not tipping your hand prior to the playoffs. The NFL is also only a 17 game schedule with one game a week most times, so their game plans will change week to week anyway. Also, since every play begins with one team in possession of the ball, every play in football is what we would call… Read more »

Travis Voth

Thank you and great information! The extended time frame makes perfect sense. Go Avs!!

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