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Preview: Predators at Avalanche

Nashville without injured Roman Josi; Colorado to face former teammate Cody McLeod

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

PREDATORS (19-16-7) at AVALANCHE (13-26-1)

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


Predators team scope

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi will not play; he was placed on injured reserve Friday with an upper-body injury sustained Thursday on a first-period hit by Boston Bruins forward Anton Blidh in a 2-1 win. "You can't replace a guy like Roman Josi," assistant coach Kevin McCarthy told the Predators website. "You try to put guys in positions where they can have success, and obviously there's guys that will have to play some big minutes that haven't gotten those minutes (previously)." Rookie defenseman Alexandre Carrier, 20, is likely to make his NHL debut after he was recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. Defenseman P.K. Subban, who has missed 13 games with an upper-body injury, is on the five-game trip that starts here. Subban practiced Thursday and Friday but it is unknown when he will play. Forward James Neal, who has missed five games with an upper-body injury, practiced Friday and could play. Forward Cody McLeod was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on Friday in a trade for minor-league center Felix Girardi and is expected to play. "He gets in your face, it can get intimidating, so it's nice to have a guy like that on our side," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. Carrier gave up No. 55, switching to No. 73 so McLeod could keep his jersey number. Goalie Pekka Rinne is expected to start.


Avalanche team scope

Goalie Semyon Varlamov will make his second consecutive start. He made 28 saves Thursday in a 4-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. The Avalanche have lost 11 of their past 12 home games (1-10-1) and are 2-10-0 in the past 12 games overall. After trading McLeod to the Predators, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said he would "make more moves" before the NHL Trade Deadline of March 1. Though sorry to see McLeod leave, captain Gabriel Landeskog said, "When you're in last place in the League and anybody gets traded, it's not going to be a surprise, I guess. I'm sure he's going to want to show them his best, but it'll be weird seeing his name on another jersey." Coach Jared Bednar said he needs to keep players' focus on the games. "Our guys seem to be doing pretty good with that so far this year," he said. Center Matt Duchene, who has one goal in the past 12 games, will skate with Landeskog at left wing and Matt Nieto on the right. "We [have] to be more than a one-line team in order to produce and win games," Bednar said. "Obviously [Duchene] is the key guy. We need to make sure that his line is scoring, so Nieto gives us some speed there, and hopefully putting [Landeskog] there will help spark those guys."    


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Colton Sissons -- Mike Fisher -- Austin Watson

Kevin Fiala -- Mike Ribeiro -- Craig Smith

Derek Grant -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Cody McLeod

Mattias Ekholm -- Matt Irwin

Alexandre Carrier -- Ryan Ellis

Anthony Bitetto -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Harry Zolnierczyk

Injured: Roman Josi (upper body), James Neal (upper body), Miikka Salomaki (lower body), P.K. Subban (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)


Avalanche projected lineup

Mikko Rantanen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Rene Bourque

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Matt Nieto

Blake Comeau -- Carl Soderberg -- Jarome Iginla

Mikhail Grigorenko -- John Mitchell -- Andreas Martinsen

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Patrick Wiercioch

Francois Beauchemin -- Cody Goloubef

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Joe Colborne, Eric Gelinas

Injured: Erik Johnson (leg)


Status report

Aberg was reassigned to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. He had one goal and one assist in 12 games.


Who's hot

Watson has scored in three consecutive games. ... Fisher has one goal and four assists in the past five games. ... MacKinnon has two goals and an assist in the past two games. ... Barrie has one goal and seven assists in the past eight games.

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