The Colorado Avalanche fell 4-1 to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, and the team now returns home to play the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
J.T. Compher scored his second goal of the season in the final minute of the first period in Dallas, cutting the deficit to 2-1 on a hard wrister, but the Avalanche couldn't close the gap any further. In addition to the Avs killing six of seven Dallas power plays, there were also a few individual highlights.
Cale Makar picked up an assist on Compher's goal, his 11th helper and 12th point of the campaign--both highs among NHL rookies. Vladislav Kamenev also recorded an assist for his first point of the season, and Pierre Edouard-Bellemare skated in his 400th NHL game to become the third French-born player to reach the milestone.
Looking ahead to Thursday, the Avs (8-5-2) welcome the Preds, who have 20 points and are two points ahead of Colorado in the standings, creating an intriguing early-season matchup for second-place in the Central Division.
Nashville advanced to 9-4-2 on the year on Monday after beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-1, the seventh time this season that the Predators have scored at least five goals. Matt Duchene (two goals), Filip Forsberg (one goal, one assist) and Roman Josi (two assists) all had multi-point outings, and goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped 23 of 24 shots in the victory.
Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Colin Wilson was Nashville's first-round pick (No. 7 overall) in 2008 and spent his first eight NHL seasons with the Predators… Samuel Girard (47th overall in 2016) and Vladislav Kamenev (42nd in 2014) were both second-round picks by the Predators and began their NHL careers in Nashville… Predators center Matt Duchene was the Avalanche's first-round pick in 2009 (No. 3 overall) and spent his first eight-plus seasons in Colorado… The Preds' Rocco Grimaldi played games for the Avs in two seasons from 2016-2018… Colorado's Tyson Jost and Nashville's Dante Fabbro played together with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League from 2014-2016.
Since the Predators' inaugural season in 1998-99, the Avalanche has a 33-37-12 record against Nashville and owns an 18-19-5 record at home. The teams' split the four-game set in 2018-19, with each winning both outings on the road. The Avs won 5-0 in the last contest on Feb. 23, tied for their biggest shutout on the road since 2012.
Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals that night and added an assist, while Nikita Zadorov picked up his only two-point game of the season (one goal, one assist). MacKinnon notched six points total against the Predators last season (four goals, two assists), and Samuel Girard recorded five assists, tying his personal high for helpers against an opponent in his career.
The Avalanche reassigned Jayson Megna to the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles on Wednesday after recalling the forward on Oct. 29 ahead of the game against the Panthers… Colorado recalled forward T.J. Tynan from the Eagles later in the afternoon... The Avs recalled goaltender Adam Werner on Thursday morning.
Gabriel Landeskog (out indefinitely), Mikko Rantanen (week-to-week) and Colin Wilson (day-to-day) all remain out with lower-body injuries.
SCOUTING THE PREDATORS
With their 6-1 win over the Red Wings on Monday, a game in which 11 Nashville players tallied a point, the Predators improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven contests.
Nashville's offense has been most effective at even strength this year. The Predators lead the NHL with 41 5-on-5 goals, while their power play ranks 15th, converting just 20.7 percent of their opportunities.
Numbers also indicate Nashville is a strong finisher than a fast starter. The Preds jump from 10 goals in the first period (29th-best) to 22 in the second (tied for third-best) to an NHL-leading 27 in the final frame. In addition to being prolific, the Predators' offense is also dynamic. They have the most players with double-digit points (nine) in the league. Defenseman Roman Josi leads the way with 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) and fellow rear guard Ryan Ellis is second with 15 (two goals, 13 assists).
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Filip Forsberg
Filip Forsberg's 26 career points against the Avalanche (13 goals, 13 assists) are the most he's recorded against any one opponent. His 13 goals are the most for any NHL player against the Avs since 2014-15. Forsberg had two assists in four games against Colorado last season, and he has 12 points in the last 10 meetings (seven goals, five assists).
This season Forsberg, who missed six games from Oct. 17-29 with a lower-body injury, has produced at least one point in eight of his nine contests he's played this year. He has 11 points so far (six goals, five assists).
Since his first season in 2013-14, Nathan MacKinnon has recorded the most power-play points of any NHL player against the Nashville Predators with nine (three goals, six assists).
Colorado fired 21 shots in the third period on Tuesday in Dallas. It was the team's most in a single frame since Dec. 31, 2017 versus the New York Islanders (23 in the second period).
Nathan MacKinnon ranks second in the NHL in shots with 72, trailing only the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (76). Last season, MacKinnon led the league with a franchise-record 365 shots on goal.
The Avalanche has generally locked down opposing offenses in the third period, surrendering just nine goals in the final 20 minutes of action, tied for the second-fewest in the NHL… Matt Calvert has taken five short-handed shots on goal, tied for the sixth-most in the NHL… Colorado is beginning a two-game homestand that concludes on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets… The Avs are playing their fifth contest against a Central Division opponent this season… The Avalanche will wear its navy third jerseys for the third time this year as part of its Division Rivalry series (1-1-0)... It is the first of four meetings this year between Colorado and Nashville.