Colorado Avalanche host Nashville Predators to kick off first round of 2022 NHL playoffs

DENVER — The Colorado Avalanche will begin another search for Stanley Cup Tuesday at Ball Arena when they host the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the first round series.

The Avalanche earned first place in the Western Conference and finished the tournament with a 56-19-7 record and a franchise-record 119 points — second only to the Florida Panthers’ 122 points in the Eastern Conference. Nashville finished the season with a 45-30-7 record and 97 points.

The Avs have lost just five games in aggregate and four in overtime at the Ball Arena this year, while the Predators hold a 20-16-5 away record.

Colorado went 1-1-2 with Nashville this season — in Denver in November, before losing 2-5 in Nashville in December. They lost again 5–4 in overtime in Nashville in January and lost again to the Predators in a shootout in Denver on April 28.

The Avs went 1-6 in their last seven regular season games, while Nashville finished 2-5 in their seven games of the season.

Gabriel Landeskog is expected to return to the line-up for the first time since his knee surgery in March and manager Jared Bednar said Nazem Kadri, who returned on April 20, will be a game-changer after battling an illness.

Nashville, meanwhile, will be without top goaltender Juuse Saros for the first and second games of the series with a leg injury. He recorded 38 wins for the Predators this season. Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper won a career-high 37 games that year but went 0-0-2 against Nashville.

The series will feature the two top defensemen, Cale Makar of Colorado and Roman Josi of Nashville, one of whom is likely to win the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman this year. Josi led the Predators in points and assists this season, while Makar finished fourth on the Avs with 86 points and second on the team with 58 assists.

While both teams averaged four goals per game in their matchups this season, the Avalanche had eight players with 50+ points this season and as a team scored the second-most goals all-time behind the 1995-96 Cup-winning team.

The Avalanche are hoping that offensive firepower, the return of captain Landeskog and finishing with the second fewest goals allowed this season in the Western Conference behind Calgary will propel them over the hump to their first Stanley Cup since the 2000-01 season.

They have lost in the second round of the NHL playoffs in each of the last three seasons, having been eliminated in the first round in 2017-18.

The puck drops for Game 1 at 7:30 PM MT and the game will be televised on ESPN. The rest of the series schedule looks like this:

  • Game 2 in Denver – May 5 at 7:30pm MT on TNT
  • Game 3 in Nashville – May 7 at 2:30 p.m. MT on TNT
  • Game 4 in Nashville – May 9 at 7:30 p.m. MT on ESPN
  • Game 5 (if needed) in Denver – May 11, TBD
  • Game 6 (if needed) in Nashville – May 13, TBD
  • Game 7 (if necessary) in Denver – May 15, TBD

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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