Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Free Preview 4/16/18

What did we learn? Game one: Avs vs. Preds

What did we learn? Game one: Avs vs. Preds

And where does the value lie? "I felt like we did enough to nearly earn a better result but now we're going to have to go and dig in even harder to make sure we do earn a better result".

Will home cooking be just what the Colorado Avalanche need to turn around their series against the defending Western Conference champs? The Preds have a 2-0 lead in the series after winning game two by a score of 5-4.

Nashville left winger Austin Watson only accounted for 14 goals and five assists in 76 games played during the regular season, but did score a goal in the regular season finale to head into the playoffs on a strong note.

At least early on, the Nashville Predators have shown why they're Presidents' Cup trophy-winners.

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-The Avalanche can hang with this team. The shortest Avalanche odds are winning in seven at +1800. Ten seconds after Nathan MacKinnon took an offensive zone minor for slashing, Craig Smith roofed a wrister off a Ryan Johansen feed at 8:50 of the second. But there's no denying Nashville's depth, which is probably the best in the league.

Even if Ellis hadn't made his triumphant return to Nashville's vaunted blue line, this would've swung heavily in the Predators' favor.

Two nights after Frederik Andersen allowed five goals in the series opener, he gave up three more on five shots in the first 12:13 before he was replaced by backup Curtis McElhinney. The high-scoring defenseman did not register a single shot on goal and struggled against the forecheck of the Predators.

Pekka Rinne stopped 26 shots in the win.

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Colton Sissons sealed the outcome with an empty-netter at 18:03 as Nashville notched its 11th straight win over the Avalanche, dating back to April 2016. Compound his 42 wins, top-six goals-against average and NHL-best eight shutouts with the injury to the Avs' Semyon Varlamov, and this is all Preds. There is only so much that they depleted Avalanche can do against the Nashville juggernaut, but they are fighting admirably in spite of it and can change the tone of the series with a victory on home ice. If they can capitalize on those extra-man advantages, the underdogs might have a chance to play spoiler.

But on Sunday, fans were hopeful this would be the year the Predators go all the way.

-Pekka Rinne will be tough to beat. Here come the catfish.

On the other side of the ice, the Avalanche will likely be without Jonathan Bernier. Unfortunately, this playoff run should be quite short. Sam Girard took a beating from the Predators' forecheckers like we haven't seen all year, and it will be interesting to see how the undersized defenseman holds up over the entire series if that continues.

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"I'm happy with the way we played", Colorado coach Jared Bednar said.

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