The 2018 NHL playoffs have finally arrived. Nashville is coming into the playoffs off their best regular season in their franchise history. With a 53-18-11 record, the Predators earned the top seed in the Western Conference and brought the first President’s trophy to Nashvill.
On the other side, The Colorado Avalanche are coming off a shocking season. In 2016-17, Colorado was the worst team in the NHL and finished with one of the worst records in league history. Their 43-30-9 record to earn the eighth seed in the West is a big jump from the year before. The successful season is even more surprising due to the Avs trading star centerman Matt Duchene early in the season in a three-team trade with the Predators and Senators. Colorado ended up getting seven pieces back, leading most people to believe they were in a rebuilding year, but Nathan MacKinnon and Co. had different ideas. MacKinnon is heading into the playoffs red-hot, posting 97 points in the regular season.
The Predators and Avalanche squared off four times this season with the Preds winning all four, outscoring the Avs 17-8. MacKinnon is certain to cause some match-up issues, but the Predators will have the upper hand, especially since the Avs will be without their top defensemen and goalie. Erik Johnson will miss the entirety of the playoffs after fracturing his patella on March 30 and Semyon Varlamov is expected to miss round one due to a minor knee injury suffered on March 30.
Game 1: Thursday at Nashville, 8:30 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday at Nashville, 2 p.m.
Game 3: Monday at Colorado, 9 p.m.
Game 4: April 18 at Colorado, 9 p.m.
Game 5(If necessary): April 20 at Nashville, TBD
Game 6(If necessary): April 22 at Colorado, TBD
Game 7(If necessary): April 24 at Nashville, TBD