|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT, November 27, 2018
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee Attendance: 17,163
Banged-up Preds aim to stay afloat vs. high-flying Avs
Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators
- Colorado has won four straight and is 6-0-1 in its last seven. No team has scored more than three goals against the Avs in that span -- their 18 games allowing three or fewer goals this season are tied for second most in the NHL (Predators and Bruins, 19).
- The Predators beat the Ducks, 5-2, and have won four of their last five games. Nashville's +24 goal differential this season is tied with Toronto for best in the NHL. The Preds are +22 at even strength, best in the NHL.
- The Predators beat the Avalanche on November 7, 4-1. Nashville has now won 11 straight games against Colorado, the fourth-longest active streak by any team against any opponent.
- Gabriel Landeskog has six points (2g, 4a) in his last four games, going +4 on the ice. He is +16 on the season, which is tied with Calgary's T.J. Brodie and Tampa Bay's Ryan McDonagh for best in the NHL.
- Austin Watson recorded his first career hat trick against the Ducks on Sunday. This is the fourth time this season where a Nashville skater has recorded a hat trick, the most such games in the NHL.
- Colorado's Mikko Rantanen (38 points) and Nathan MacKinnon (35) lead the league in points this season. Their combined 73 points are the most by any duo through 23 games of the season since the 2008-09 Penguins (also 73 - 39 by Evgeni Malkin, 34 by Sidney Crosby).
- Capitals' Oshie likely out for playoffs
- Leafs hope to end misery vs. Bruins
- Vegas gets second chance to oust Sharks
- Caps try to close out series at Carolina
- Stars look to oust Predators in Game 6
With center Kyle Turris joining a lengthy list of key players on injured reserve before Sunday night's game with Anaheim, the Nashville Predators needed someone to step up.
Enter Austin Watson.
In his sixth game since serving an 18-game suspension for domestic violence to open the season, Watson notched the first hat trick of his career to help Nashville maintain its place atop the Central Division and Western Conference with a 5-2 win.
Without Turris, Viktor Arvidsson and perhaps P.K. Subban, the Predators will try to pick up another two points on Tuesday night when they welcome the Colorado Avalanche to Bridgestone Arena for the second of a five-game homestand.
Watson and Ryan Hartman split time on the top line against the Ducks with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg. Both provide grit and better skill than some might think, but clearly on Sunday night, Watson had the hot stick.
"I think it's just a matter of getting back on the ice and getting his timing back," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "He was in shape when he started but there's something about the game and the way it moves and getting your game timing down from skating, reading the puck and handling the plays.
"We've been giving him more opportunity in regards to ice time, penalty kill and defensive zone starts when the game is on the line."
For Watson, who normally plays on third and fourth lines whose roles are to keep opponents from scoring and occasionally create a "dirty" goal, the chance to play with creative players like Johansen and Forsberg was fun.
"It's always nice to score goals and contribute," Watson said. "As hockey players, that's what we like doing. It's a good change to play with Johansen and Forsberg, two gifted players."
The Predators (17-6-1) have won six straight at home, dating back to an Oct. 27 loss to Edmonton, and own a five-point lead on Colorado and Minnesota in the division. They also own an even longer streak over the Avalanche (13-6-4).
Nashville has dumped Colorado in 11 straight regular season games, a streak that started in the last week of the 2015-16 season. The 11th win occurred on November 7 in Denver, where Colton Sissons notched a hat trick in a 4-1 verdict.
Pekka Rinne bagged 24 saves that night and also got help from his team's video coaches. Two Avalanche goals were waved off via review when replay detected offsides.
Colorado is coming off a 3-2 home win Saturday night over Dallas, thanks to Mikko Rantanen's second game-winner of the season off a rebound with less than two minutes remaining. Rantanen and center Nathan MacKinnon are 1-2 in the NHL in scoring with 38 and 35 points, respectively.
Add linemate Gabriel Landeskog's 26 points to the mix, and you have the top-scoring line in the NHL with 39 goals and 60 assists through 23 games.
"They have been consistent all year," said forward J.T. Compher. "It's just finding a way to consistently support them. You know what you are going to get out of them every night."
Updated November 27, 2018