AVALANCHE (12-16-1) at PREDATORS (15-9-5)
TV: ALT, FS-TN
NASHVILLE – Gabriel Landeskog will miss his second consecutive game with a back injury when the Colorado Avalanche play the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.
Landeskog participated in the morning skate Saturday, but coach Patrick Roy ruled him out against Nashville. Landeskog could return to action as soon as Sunday against the St. Louis Blues.
"He's skating this morning," Roy said. "He's doing much better, but I think there is a good chance he will play [Sunday]."
Colorado begins a three-game road trip against Nashville, with all three games coming against Central Division teams. The players view this road trip as a big opportunity to climb back into the thick of the race in the division.
"This is a big part of our season right now," Avalanche forward Matt Duchene said. "We've been treading water for a while. We've been playing some really good hockey where we've won games but also some where we haven't. We've got to find that last little bit of whatever we need in that night to finish the job."
The Predators earned a 5-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday and are looking to build on that performance. They haven't been able to string wins together consistently lately but are hoping the victory against the Blackhawks can serve as a springboard moving forward.
"It's really how we've got to prepare ourselves to come out hard in the first period," Predators forward Mike Ribeiro said. "They're a high-skill team. We've got to stay out of the box, be disciplined and play a full 60 [minutes]. Against Chicago, I think we played a pretty good 60 minutes. It's a team that's going to play in the offensive zone, so you have to defend too. It's kind of the same [against Colorado]. They have some skill players that you have to be careful. It'll be a matter of really focusing on us."
Here are the projected lineups:
Mikhail Grigorenko – Matt Duchene – Nathan MacKinnon
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Andreas Martinsen
Alex Tanguay – John Mitchell – Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod – Chris Wagner – Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin – Erik Johnson
Nick Holden – Tyson Barrie
Brandon Gormley – Nate Guenin
Scratched: Zach Redmond
Injured: Gabriel Landeskog (back), Ben Street (chest), Brad Stuart (back), Jesse Winchester (concussion)
Filip Forsberg – Calle Jarnkrok – James Neal
Viktor Arvidsson – Mike Ribeiro – Craig Smith
Cody Hodgson – Colton Sissons – Austin Watson
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Miikka Salomaki
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis
Barret Jackman – Seth Jones
Scratched: Anthony Bitetto
Injured: Colin Wilson (lower body), Mike Fisher (lower body), Gabriel Bourque (upper body)
Status report: Varlamov will start for the Avalanche. … Grigorenko will fill Landeskog's spot on the first line alongside Duchene and MacKinnon. … Rinne is expected to start for the Predators.
Who's hot: Duchene has three goals in the past five games and leads the team with 15 goals and 26 points. … Josi has a six-game point streak and has eight points during that span.