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Preview: Predators at Avalanche

Backup Calvin Pickard starts again for Colorado; Pekka Rinne in goal for Nashville

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

PREDATORS (10-8-3) at AVALANCHE (9-10-1)

TV: 9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-TN, NHL.TV


Predators team scope

Goaltender Pekka Rinne is expected to start for the Nashville Predators, who are 8-3-2 in November after a 2-5-1 start. Rinne has won three in a row and is 8-1-2 in his past 11 starts with a 1.35 goals-against average, a .952 save percentage and one shutout. The Predators are finishing a two-game road trip that began Sunday with a 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets when they had a season-high 42 shots on goal, including "28 quality chances," coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday. "I think our road game has gotten better. You just have to give [Jets goalie Connor] Hellebuyck credit; he played a heck of a game." The Predators are 8-1-1 at home but 2-7-2 on the road. Nashville is 1-3-1 on the road since a 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center four weeks ago. "As a group, we have to commit to playing a certain type of game on the road for the whole game, and that's kind of what's been killing us a little bit," forward Mike Fisher said. "It's one of those things where you say, 'Man, are we that bad on the road?' We've been solid at home for a long time. It's a different game on the road, but it's not that different." Forward Filip Forsberg has three goals and six assists in a five-game scoring streak against the Avalanche.


Avalanche team scope

Calvin Pickard will start back-to-back games for the first time this season after making 29 saves Saturday in Colorado's 3-2 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Semyon Varlamov didn't dress Saturday because of a wrist injury, but he's recovered and will be the backup. Varlamov made 31 saves Nov. 1 in a 5-1 loss to the Predators. The Avalanche had their usual video routine Tuesday, but they didn't skate following back-to-back intense practices on Sunday and Monday. "We're having trouble scoring the first goal, and it's kind of plagued us a little bit," coach Jared Bednar said. "Too many games with slow starts, so let's get some real good work done and you can take the morning off. Maybe they come fresh and energized tonight." The Avalanche have scored first six times in 20 games and have been outscored 22-9 in the first period. They're 0-1-1 in the first two games of a five-game homestand and 4-5-1 at Pepsi Center. "It should be the place where we dominate, and it hasn't been that way yet," forward Matt Duchene said. "Mental errors at the wrong time are killing us. We have to try and stay a little more focused for the whole 60 [minutes], know the time of game, manage the game the right way, stay on our toes and push teams."


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Kevin Fiala -- Mike Ribeiro -- Craig Smith

Colin Wilson -- Mike Fisher -- Pontus Aberg

Frederick Gaudreau -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Austin Watson

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Roman Josi -- Matt Irwin

Anthony Bitetto -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched : Mike Liambas , Petter Granberg

Injured : Ryan Ellis (upper body), James Neal (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (upper body), Colton Sissons (upper body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Mikko Rantanen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Rene Bourque

Mikhail Grigorenko -- Carl Soderberg -- Matt Duchene

Blake Comeau -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod -- Joe Colborne -- Andreas Martinsen

Fedor Tyutin -- Erik Johnson

Patrick Wiercioch -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Francois Beauchemin

Calvin Pickard

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Eric Gelinas

Injured: Gabriel Landeskog (lower body)


Status report

Ellis, Neal and Sissons are on injured reserve and didn't make the road trip. ... Johnson didn't practice Monday because of illness but is expected to be in the lineup. Landeskog hasn't skated since Friday and will miss his sixth consecutive game. "He's having good days and bad days right now," Bednar said.


Who's hot

Subban has two goals and four assists in the past six games. Forsberg has a goal and three assists in the past four games. ... MacKinnon has three goals and four assists in the past five games. Tyutin has an assist in three consecutive games.

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