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Avs hope to finally solve Predators

by Brian Compton
PREDATORS (22-15-4) at AVALANCHE (23-19-1)


Last 10: Nashville 6-4-0; Colorado 8-2-0.

Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the clubs. Nashville swept the season series in 2010-11, outscoring the Avs 17-8 along the way.

Big Story: If you go by the history books, the Avalanche will have their hands full Tuesday night. Colorado has lost five straight to the Predators and have been outscored 22-11. It's important the Avs set the tone early, as this marks the beginning of a home-and home series that concludes Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Team Scope:

Predators: Nashville responded nicely from last Thursday's 4-1 loss on home ice to the Dallas Stars by earning a 5-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. Patric Hornqvist scored two of the Preds' four power-play goals. Nashville finished 4-for-5 with the man advantage after coming up empty in its previous 16 opportunities.

"I think we got away from our work ethic and execution -- all of the little details that you need and then you also need a little bit of puck luck," Preds coach Barry Trotz said. "We had a little bit of all three tonight. The power play made a big statement coming back after a little bit of a dry spell. That's just what happens in the season sometimes."

Avalanche: Twenty-four hours after earning an impressive 4-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Avs found themselves on the losing end of a 4-0 decision at St. Louis. Colorado mustered only 15 shots on goal against Brian Elliott, who recorded his fifth shutout of the season. The Avs enter Tuesday's action having lost only twice in their last 11 games.

"We've been playing very well. We just have to put this one behind us and move forward," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said.

Who's Hot: Preds goalie Pekka Rinne is 4-1-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average since Dec. 28. He picked up his 20th win of the season Saturday night. Shea Weber has 22 points (8 goals, 14 assists) in his last 22 games, while Martin Erat has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in his last eight contests. … Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov has won his last four starts and boasts a 1.22 GAA over that span.

Injury Report: The Avs are expected to be without Matt Duchene (knee), Erik Johnson (hand) and Peter Mueller (head).

Stat Pack: Colorado was the lone team from the Western Conference that Nashville swept in 2010-11. The Preds have won seven of eight from the Avs over the last two seasons. … The Avs killed 13 straight penalties and 35 of 38 before St. Louis went 2-for-5 on the power play Saturday night.

Puck Drop: "If you keep going in front of the net sometimes good things happen. The puck bounced my way. I got the scoring chances. ... We did a great job of taking the puck to the net. I like to be in front of the net. I'm not a skilled guy. It's my job to be in front of the net." -- Preds forward Patric Hornqvist after Saturday's 5-2 win against Carolina

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