GAME: Nashville Predators (37-29-11-4) at Colorado Avalanche (40-22-13-6).
TIME: Sunday, 4 p.m. EDT.
The Colorado Avalanche are in an unfamiliar position. So are the Nashville
Before embarking on their respective first-round playoff series, the
Avalanche and visiting Predators will conclude the regular season.
No strangers to the postseason, the Avalanche are a fourth seed for the
first time in 10 years. Vancouver ended Colorado's division title winning
streak at nine with its 5-2 victory over Edmonton on Saturday.
Locked in as the fourth seed, the Avalanche will face either Dallas or
Calgary in the first round next week.
"Obviously you want to go in playing well," Avs coach Tony Granato said.
"We want to feel confident in our special teams and to be able to close out
teams. We have had a tough time in the past month or so finding ways to win."
The Avalanche gave the division away by going 6-7-2-1 in March, including an
0-5-1 stretch in which they scored just seven goals.
However, Colorado has shown some signs of life offensively over the last two
games, scoring a total of eight goals in an overtime loss and 4-2 win over
Columbus on Friday.
Nashville secured its first playoff berth in the franchise's six-year
history when Edmonton lost to Vancouver on Saturday.
The Predators are locked into the eighth spot in the West and will open up
the playoffs at top seed Detroit. The Red Wings were swept in the first round
last season by eighth-seeded Anaheim.
However, the Predators are looking for some positives, having lost three of
their last six games.
Scott Hartnell scored Nashville's only goal in a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on
STANDINGS: Predators - 89 points, 3rd place, 20 PB, Central Division.
Avalanche - 99 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Scott Walker, 25 goals; Steve Sullivan, 49 assists
and 73 points; Jordin Tootoo, 137 PIM. Avalanche - Milan Hejduk, 35 goals; Joe
Sakic and Alex Tanguay, 54 assists; Sakic, 87 points; Peter Worrell, 177 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 2): Predators - Power play: 17.0 percent (72
for 423), 11th. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (283 for 348), 25th. Avalanche -
Power play: 20.6 percent (74 for 360), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.7
percent (298 for 356), 20th.
GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (34-28-10, 3 SO, 2.54 GAA); Chris
Mason (3-4-1, 1, 2.28). Avalanche - David Aebischer (32-19-9, 4, 2.09); Tommy
Salo (18-20-7, 3, 2.57).
SEASON SERIES: Predators, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 8; Predators, 4-3, OT. At Nashville, Jason York scored
1:12 into overtime, and backup goalie Mason stopped 31 shots for his first
career victory to lead the Predators.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 15-19-4-2 on the road; Avalanche - 19-14-6-1