NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, October 4th (All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (0-1-0) at Colorado Avalanche (1-0-0), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Owners of the top pick in the most recent draft, the Colorado Avalanche passed on defenseman Seth Jones and instead selected Nathan MacKinnon first overall.
Jones fell fourth to the Nashville Predators and gets his first chance at showing the Avs what they missed out on as the clubs square off Friday night in Denver.
More than a few pundits had Jones as the top prospect in the draft and the fact that he lived in Colorado for a time while his father Popeye Jones played for the NBA's Denver Nuggets seemed to make the Avalanche an ideal situation.
But the Avs opted to go with the scoring threat in MacKinnon, while the Preds felt lucky to get Jones at the fourth spot.
Both talents cracked their respective club's opening day roster, with MacKinnon notching two assists in Colorado's 6-1 rout of Anaheim.
"I was a little nervous at first. I was fighting a little bit early on, but I figured I needed to stop thinking too hard and just kind of react to the game and not over think anything," said the 18-year-old MacKinnon, who helped set up both of Jamie McGinn's goals.
Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly and Steve Downie all added goals in the season opener and Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves to give Patrick Roy a victory in his coaching debut.
And it was quite a debut for Roy, who got into a shouting match with Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau after he felt Anaheim's Ben Lovejoy delivered a knee-on-knee hit to MacKinnon.
Roy nearly toppled over the glass partition separating the clubs and was called "classless" by Boudreau as he accused Roy of yapping at his players.
Roy was fined $10,000 by the NHL on Thursday, but disputed Boudreau's claims as to what happened.
"I love my players and I will always love my players," Roy said Thursday after practice. "It was what needed to be done. I thought that was something that was inappropriate."
Jones had a less-eventful debut in Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Playing on his 19th birthday, he was a plus-2 over 18 minutes and 35 seconds of ice time while getting credited with three shots and a hit.
"I didn't really have any (butterflies)," said Jones. "I felt good, I felt confident. I knew it was going to be fast out there and St. Louis likes to play a very fast game."
The Blues did indeed play fast, scoring three times on six shots to chase Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne less than 10 minutes into the game. Carter Hutton made 21 saves in relief as goals by Mike Fisher and David Legwand pulled Nashville to within one before St. Louis tacked on a power-play goal in the second period.
"I thought we outplayed them in the first period aside from them capitalizing on their opportunities," Nashville forward Eric Nystrom said. "We knew we had good jump but ultimately we fell short."
Nashville went 1-1-1 in three meetings with Colorado last season, but has still won 12 of 12 and 13 of the previous 18 meetings.
Both losses last season came in Denver.
The Avalanche could tonight be without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who is questionable with a leg injury and did not practice on Thursday.
10/04 10:56:38 ET