Avalanche vs. Predators reset: NHL playoffs scores, schedule, TV channels, stream, predictions
The Avalanche won Game 5 with a furious comeback and will go home to try to force a do-or-die Game 7
So what side should you back? And where does the value lie? Visit SportsLine to get NHL odds and picks for every Stanley Cup Playoff game, all from the advanced computer model on a red-hot 21-8 NHL run.
Of all the the Western Conference playoff series to go to six games, the last one most people would have predicted was the Predators and the Avalanche. And yet, here we are after the Avalanche pulled off a monstrous comeback behind a spectacular 44-save performance from Andrew Hammond in Game 5 to win 2-1, closing the Predators' lead in the series to 3-2.
Pekka Rinne has remained solid and consistent, but both teams traded body blows throughout Game 5 before the Predators opened up the scoring a little over halfway through the final period. The Avalanche, however, responded five minutes later before putting a crucial game-winner in the net at the 18:32 mark, taking the series back to Colorado.
Here's everything you need to know to get you up to speed on the series heading into Game 6:
How to watch
(All times ET)
* - If necessary
Game 1, Thursday, April 12: Predators 5, Avalanche 2
Game 2, Saturday, April 14: Predators 5, Avalanche 4
Game 3, Monday, April 16: Avalanche 5, Predators 3
Game 4, Wednesday, April 18: Predators 3, Avalanche 2
Game 5, Friday, April 20: Avalanche 2, Predators 1
Game 6, Sunday, April 22: Predators at Avalanche, 7 p.m. ET
*Game 7, Tuesday, April 24: Avalanche at Predators, TBD
NHL Playoffs odds
Make no mistake: Nathan MacKinnon is the real deal, and his speed could pose problems for the Predators just like it did for pretty much every other team during his Hart Trophy-caliber season. But there's no denying Nashville's depth, which is probably the best in the league. Behind Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Kevin Fiala and P.K. Subban, there are still eight other guys on the Preds roster that have scored at least 10 goals, and that's not even including puck-moving D-man Ryan Ellis.
Even if Ellis hadn't made his triumphant return to Nashville's vaunted blue line, this would've swung heavily in the Predators' favor. Both teams allow a fair amount of shots, but the Avs -- now sans Erik Johnson -- are in the middle of the pack when it comes to goals allowed per game, whereas their Central Division foes not only prevent more scores but do plenty of scoring on defense themselves. Between Ellis, Subban, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm, there's too much Nashville star power to ignore.
It's hard to call this a bigger mismatch than offense simply because of the Preds' enviable depth, but it'd be a disservice to Pekka Rinne not to call him the obvious favorite in this category. The 35-year-old net-minder was a huge reason for Nashville's postseason run a year ago, and he's warded off Father Time for an even better go-round this time. 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.
Besides breakaways from MacKinnon, this might be the Avs' best shot at disrupting Nashville. Colorado is better in both power-play percentage and in killing penalties, while the Predators led the league in penalty minutes, finishing the regular season with almost 200 more than the Avalanche. If they can capitalize on those extra-man advantages, the underdogs might have a chance to play spoiler.
Benjamin: Props to the Avalanche for doing a 180, but it'll be more of an upset than last year's Blackhawks dud if the Predators don't dominate this series. They're deeper than they were during a phenomenal postseason run in 2016-17, and Pekka Rinne isn't going to be an easy out. Here come the catfish. Predators in 5.
Blackburn: The Avalanche making the playoffs just one year removed from one of the worst seasons in recent history is a very cool story. Unfortunately, this playoff run should be quite short. Nashville is just too deep and too strong. Predators in 4.
Skiver: It's hard to imagine the Predators not winning this in a landslide -- an avalanche, if you will. They're faster on the ice, they lead the league in goal differential behind a stellar defense, and they're all-around better than the Avalanche right now. Playing a team like the Predators as a wild card is a nightmare scenario, and I don't see the Avalanche shocking the world. Predators in 4.
Breaking down where things went wrong for the New Jersey Devils
Here's your guide for how to watch this year's Stanley Cup playoffs
A look at the entire postseason field -- and who's going up against who for a shot at the...
The Maple Leafs avoided elimination with a 4-3 Game 5 victory behind stellar goaltending
Toronto keeps its season alive on the road on Saturday night despite 40-plus shots from Br...
Taking a look at where things went wrong for the Minnesota Wild