PREDATORS (9-4-2) at AVALANCHE (8-5-2)
9 p.m. ET, ALT, FS-TN, NHL.TV
Goalie Philipp Grubauer won't play because of a lower-body injury when the Colorado Avalanche host the Nashville Predators at Pepsi Center on Thursday.
Pavel Francouz will start in place of Grubauer, who is day to day after sustaining the injury in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Adam Werner will be the backup following his recall from Colorado of the American Hockey League. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Grubauer also will not play against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Colorado will try to end a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) after opening the season 8-1-1.
Pekka Rinne, who needs one win for 350 in the NHL, will start for the Predators, who have gone 5-1-1 in their past seven games. Rinne is 8-0-2 with a 2.07 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and two shutouts this season; the 37-year-old is the first goalie in NHL history with a season-opening point streak of at least 10 games at age 36 or older.
Players to watch
Predators defenseman Roman Josi has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past eight games and 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 32 games against Colorado.
Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar leads NHL rookies in scoring with 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 15 games.
They said it
"We talked about the [Central] Division, just how important it is. You've got to make sure we're off to a good start. Those division games, I think, they get a little added asterisk next to them just because they have such an added impact in home ice in the first couple rounds (of the Stanley Cup Playoffs)." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette
"We have to find whatever it is that's going to make us start games better. Maybe it's a mentality thing, maybe it's preparation, who knows? Each and every guy's got to do something to be ready to rumble when the puck drops." -- Avalanche forward Tyson Jost
Predators projected lineup
Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson
Calle Jarnkrok - Kyle Turris -- Matt Duchene
Rocco Grimaldi -- Nick Bonino -- Craig Smith
Austin Watson -- Colton Sissons - Mikael Granlund
Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm -- Dante Fabbro
Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber
Scratched: Matt Irwin, Miikka Salomaki
Avalanche projected lineup
Andre Burakovsky -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joonas Donskoi
Tyson Jost -- Nazem Kadri -- J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Calvert
Valeri Nichushkin -- Vladislav Kamenev - T.J. Tynan
Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson
Ian Cole -- Cale Makar
Nikita Zadorov -- Ryan Graves
Scratched: Mark Barberio
Injured: Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body)
Nashville held an optional morning skate. … Colorado recalled Tynan from the AHL and reassigned forward Jayson Megna.
Forsberg has 23 points (13 goals, 13 assists) in 24 games against the Avalanche. … Bonino has five goals in his past four games. … Nashville has killed 20 of 21 penalties in its past seven games. … MacKinnon has gone two games without a point after having 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in a 13-game point streak (eight goals, 10 assists) to open the season. … Colorado is 1-for-19 on the power play in its past four games.