After a short stay at home, the Colorado Avalanche hits the road again to take on the Nashville Predators on Saturday. This is first of two road games in as many days for Colorado this weekend.
Since 1995-96, the Avalanche is 31-33-5-6 against the Predators and has a 13-17-3-4 record when the visiting team.
The Avs are 9-7-1 this campaign but are 3-6-0 on the road. Colorado ended a recent three-game slide with its ninth win on Thursday at Pepsi Center.
Nashville sits at 10-6-2 on the season and is coming off a loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Saturday is the first of a three-game homestand for the Predators, who are 5-1-1 at home this campaign.
Last Time Out
The Avs outscored the Washington Capitals 6-2 in their first game back in the United States on Thursday following the SAP NHL Global Series in Sweden. Seventeen seconds was all it took Gabriel Landeskog to put Colorado on the scoreboard with his first goal of the night. Nathan MacKinnon followed it up with a marker just before the first 20 minutes expired, and Colin Wilson registered his first tally in a Colorado sweater to extend the lead to three in the middle frame. Washington slipped the puck past netminder Semyon Varlamov before the second period ended, making the score 3-1 after 40 minutes of play. Landeskog scored his second of the match off a penalty shot, and Mikko Rantanen found the back of the net during a power play before Washington retaliated with a man-advantage goal. The Colorado captain sealed the win and his first career hat trick with 26 second left in the contest.
The Predators fell 6-4 to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, snapping a five-game win streak. Nashville had a 3-0 lead in the second period before the Wild started its comeback. The Wild put up two markers in the middle frame to cut the score to 3-2 going into the last 20 minutes. Nashville tallied for a fourth time in the first minute of the third but was unable to find the back of the net again as Minnesota scored four unanswered goals in the last 6:56 for the win.
Last Time They Met
Earlier this season, Colorado suffered a 4-1 loss to Nashville on Oct. 17 in the first of their four meetings this season. After a scoreless first period, MacKinnon put the Avalanche on the scoreboard first with the only goal Colorado had in the match. Nashville followed it up with three second period markers and one more in the final stanza for the victory.
What to Watch
Colorado is 6-1 at Pepsi Center this season. On the flip side, six of its seven losses have been as visitors, including one in Nashville already this campaign. Not only does the Avalanche have a better record in the Mile High City, the club has more goals, more power-play markers, less goals against, better shooting percentage and a better penalty kill. While the numbers at home continue to improve, Colorado still has 32 games to be played in other team's homes and requires more consistent play.
Colorado's top line for the past seven games has consisted of center Nathan MacKinnon, left wing Gabriel Landeskog and right wing Mikko Rantanen. Between these contests, MacKinnon has 15 points (five goals and 10 assists), Rantanen has 10 points (five goals and five assists) and Landeskog has eight points (five goals and three assists).
On Thursday, all three skaters recorded personal records, as they combined for five goals and 12 points. Landeskog recorded his first NHL hat trick with three goals, while MacKinnon (one goal, four assists) and Rantanen (one goal, three assists) both recorded career highs in points in a game.
"We have to be able to find this gear more often, and we know we can do it," Landeskog said of the line's performance against the Capitals. "We just have to find it more often, be more consistent with it. I think it is something that chemistry takes time to build and things like that."
Player to Watch
Colorado: Center/Left Wing Colin Wilson
Saturday will be Colin Wilson's fourth game back after missing six contests due to an injury as Colorado faces the forward's former team. Wilson scored his first goal as an Av on Thursday night and has also earned three assists in 11 games this season.
Nashville: D Mattias Ekholm
Mattias Ekholm is currently fourth in scoring for the Predators with 11 points (three goals, eight assists). The blueliner has recorded two multi-point games in a row after registering a goal and an assist in the last two outings. In 18 games this campaign, Ekholm is averaging just over 25 minutes a game.
Line Up Notes
Colorado recalled center Dominic Toninato from the San Antonio Rampage on Friday, and the forward is expected to make his NHL debut on Saturday. He'll likely play on a line with Sven Andrighetto and Nail Yakupov.
Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. MT at Bridgestone Arena. The game will be televised on Altitude and the radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.