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Avalanche Hosts Predators on MLK Day

Colorado plays a rare Monday matinee at Pepsi Center

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

In the second meeting between the division rivals at Pepsi Center this season, the Colorado Avalanche (22-18-8) hosts the Nashville Predators (28-18-4) in an afternoon clash on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Colorado holds a 32-36-12 all-time record against Nashville, which includes an 18-18-5 mark at home. The Avs have gone 1-1-0 so far against the Predators in the first two games of the series this year, and the clubs will conclude their season matchups on Feb. 23 in Tennessee.

The Avalanche will sport its alternate third jersey for the division rival matchup and will wear the same uniform in its next outing when the club hosts the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

Last Time Out

On Saturday, the Avalanche exploded for a 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in its first game at Pepsi Center since Jan. 4. The club notched six goals in the second period to match a franchise record for scoring in a period. The homecoming win saw two goals from Mikko Rantanen, and multi-point performances from Tyson Barrie (three assists), Carl Soderberg (one goal, one assist), Gabriel Landeskog (one goal, one assist), Nathan MacKinnon (two assists) and Matt Calvert (two assists). Alexander Kerfoot, Sheldon Dries and Colin Wilson also found the back of the net in the second stanza. Colorado outshot the Kings 40-31, as Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned aside 30 pucks in the victory.

The Predators dropped their most recent outing, losing 4-2 against the Florida Panthers at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. After getting down 3-0, Nashville attempted a rally in the third period with goals from Nick Bonino and Austin Watson, but it was not enough to overtake the Panthers. The Predators outshot Florida 39-30, as Nashville netminder Juuse Saros stopped 26-of-30 shots.

Last Time They Met

Samuel Girard and Rantanen both helped MacKinnon find the back of the net twice as the Avalanche defeated the Predators 3-2 at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 27. The first marker came on the power play as an answer to Ryan Hartman's opening tally for Nashville, and the second goal gave the Avs their first lead of the night. Kevin Fiala lit the lamp to tie the contest for the Preds, but Tyson Jost responded for the Avalanche by netting the game-winner at 5:07 of the final stanza during a man-advantage opportunity. Varlamov stopped 36-of-38 shots in the victory.

What To Watch

Goals Galore

Colorado's 7-1 win on Saturday marked the 10th time this season the club has notched six or more tallies in an outing. The team is third in the league for games with six or more markers for this year and is tied for sixth in total goals, having registered 166 through 48 games. With six of Saturday's goals being recorded in the second period, Colorado now stands in fourth place in the NHL for middle-frame markers with 59. The club also continues to rank second in the league for tallies in the final stanza (67).

Special Treatment

The Avalanche capitalized on two power plays on Saturday to bring its man-advantage goal total to 46, the second-highest in the NHL. The club now boasts a 25.4-percent success rate on the season, sixth-best in the league. In addition, Colorado is third in the NHL for short-handed goals with seven after Dries' scored on the penalty kill during the contest versus L.A.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Center/Left Wing Colin Wilson

Wilson, who started his career with the Predators, has notched a point in two of the last three outings for the Avalanche (one goal, one assist), and he has played in each of the team's last four contests after suffering an upper-body injury on Dec. 21. Wilson has registered 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 39 games during the 2018-19 campaign and will play in his fifth-ever, regular-season contest against his former team on Monday.  

Nashville: Left Wing Filip Forsberg

Forsberg has notched four points (two goals, two assists) over the past four games. The forward is tied for fourth on the team in scoring having produced 28 points (18 goals, 10 assists) through 33 outings. In 22 career matchups against Colorado, Forsberg has recorded 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) and has amassed a plus-23 rating.

Lineup Notes

Head coach Jared Bednar said Rantanen is expected to return to the lineup on Monday after leaving Saturday's game with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Erik Johnson is expected to miss the team's next two games before the NHL All-Star Break after suffering a concussion in the first period against the Kings. The team recalled forward Dominic Toninato and defenseman Anton Lindholm from the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League on Sunday.

Nashville will be without leading-scorer Ryan Johansen for the second straight contest, as the forward completes his two-game suspension for high sticking the Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele during last Thursday's game.

The Details

Monday's matchup between the Avalanche and Predators has a special afternoon start time of 1 p.m. MT for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is the second-straight season that the Avs will play on MLK Day and is only the third-ever weekday afternoon contest in Colorado history (since 1995). The game can be watched locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the AltitudeNOW app (in market) or on NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

The Avalanche will wear its blue third jerseys for the seventh time this year. Colorado has a 2-2-2 record so far in the uniform and will skate with it on for 12 home contests this season.

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