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Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche @NHLdotcom
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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 Predators.

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 Saturday.

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 at home.

Associated Press
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