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Predators-Avalanche Preview @NHL

No team in hockey is as hot as the Nashville Predators. They'll look to continue their roll when they visit the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

The Predators (36-12-3) have won 10 of their last 11 games to give them the best record in the NHL. High-scoring Nashville, second in the league in goals with 182, has outscored opponents 49-25 during that stretch.

The Predators are coming off a 6-3 victory over St. Louis on Saturday, their sixth in as many games against the Blues this season. Martin Erat and Steve Sullivan each scored twice for Nashville, which rallied from a 2-1 first-period deficit with three goals in the second.

"We've had some success against the Blues," said Sullivan, who extended his point streak to a season-high seven games. "I don't think it's the Blues. It's our style of play."

That style has been especially successful this month. In addition to being one of the most potent offensive clubs in the league, the Predators have also been shutting down opponents. Led by goalie Chris Mason, Nashville has allowed only five goals in 48 power-play opportunities in January (89.6 percent).

Nashville has 75 points, seven more than second-place Detroit in the Central Division and five up on Anaheim for the Western Conference lead. The Predators are also five points ahead of Buffalo for the highest total in the league.

The Predators have won six of their last eight road games, and look to continue their surge against a Colorado club that has dropped five of eight at home.

The Avalanche (24-21-4) are coming off a 3-1 loss at Detroit on Sunday. They managed only 12 shots on goal, their lowest total since getting 12 in a 3-0 loss to Dallas on Feb. 7, 1999.

"We got outplayed," captain Joe Sakic said. "One of our worst performances of the year. I thought they were really skating, their 'D' were stepping up. They didn't give us any room in the neutral zone."

The Avalanche fell despite 38 saves from Jose Theodore, who made his first start since allowing five goals in a loss to Dallas on Dec. 27. Theodore, the Hart and Vezina Trophy winner in 2002, had dropped behind Peter Budaj in the depth chart.

"Frustrating isn't the word, you just want to be out there to contribute to the success of the team," Theodore said. "I've been through tough times before. You've got to keep working. It's always so sweet when you get past the tough times and back to the good times. I'm just trying to improve."

The Avalanche hope Theodore can help them stabilize their goaltending situation as they battle for positioning in the tightly bunched Northwest Division. Colorado is tied for fourth place in a division in which the five teams are separated by only seven points.

Nashville has won seven of its last nine matchups with Colorado. The teams have split two meetings this season, with the Avalanche winning 5-3 in the most recent encounter Jan. 1. They meet again April 7 in Denver.

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