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Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Nashville Predators (2-0-0) at Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0).

TIME: Wednesday, 9 p.m. EDT.

After helping beat the team he broke in with, Nashville's Paul Kariya will meet another team he once played for.

Kariya and the Predators start a three-game road trip Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center against the Colorado Avalanche.

Kariya was the fourth overall pick by Anaheim in the 1993 draft, where he became the franchise leader in several categories including goals (300), assists (369) and points (669). After nine seasons in Southern California, Kariya joined Colorado for the 2003-04 season.

Injuries limited Kariya to just 51 games and he collected career-lows with 11 goals and 25 assists. He signed a two-year, $9 million contract in August with Nashville.

Kariya scored the only goal in 3-2 shootout win Saturday against Anaheim.

"Paul does not feel pressure," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "He keeps his emotions in check. He thinks and prepares for the game very intelligently. It was a storybook ending with him winning the shootout against his old team."

The Predators are looking to extend the best start in team history. Nashville has killed off all 11 shorthanded situations this season and goaltender Tomas Vokoun continues to emerge as one of the league's rising stars.

Vokoun has allowed just four goals so far, but he has struggled in his career against the Avalanche with a 3-7-1 record and 3.42 goals-against average.

Colorado opened its home schedule Monday with 7-3 rout of the defending Western Conference champion Calgary Flames.

Right wing Marek Svatos recorded his first career hat trick in the win.

"There's no better feeling in the world," Svatos said.

Newcomer Pierre Turgeon has done well in his career against Colorado with eight goals and 11 assists in 23 games.

David Aebischer will likely get the start in net for Colorado. He is 4-2 with a 2.86 GAA in six career starts against the Predators.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 10): Predators - 4 points, 2nd place, 2 points back, Central Division. Avalanche - 4 points, 3rd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Yanic Perreault, 2 goals; Steve Sullivan, 3 assists and 3 points; Danny Markov, 6 PIM. Avalanche - Svatos, 4 goals and 5 points; Turgeon and John-Michael Liles, 3 assists; Ian Laperriere, 19 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 10): Predators - Power play: 14.3 percent (1 for 7), 19th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 100 percent (11 for 11), 1st. Avalanche - Power play: 23.8 percent (5 for 21), 7th. Penalty killing: 89.5 percent (17 for 19), 7th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (2-0-0, 0 SO, 1.92 GAA); Chris Mason (no appearances). Avalanche - David Aebischer (1-1-0, 0, 3.53); Peter Budaj (1-0-0, 0, 2.00).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Predators, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: April 4, 2004, Predators, 2-1 (OT); At Denver, David Legwand scored the winner 32 seconds into the extra session. Mason finished with 38 saves for the Predators. Liles scored for Colorado.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 0-0-0-0 on the road; Avalanche - 0-1-1-0 at home.

Associated Press
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