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Predators begin crucial homestand vs. Avalanche

by Brian Hunter

AVALANCHE (12-19-4) at PREDATORS (14-14-8)


Last 10: Colorado 2-8-0; Nashville 3-5-2

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season, and the only one to take place in Nashville. Colorado won both games at the Pepsi Center, 6-5 on Feb. 18 and 1-0 on March 30 with Tyson Barrie scoring the only goal in overtime.

Big story: The Predators are in the same position as about half a dozen other Western Conference teams, desperate to string a few wins together to help their positioning for a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth. They'll face an Avalanche squad that at 2-13-3 has the worst road record in the National Hockey League.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: If there are any moral victories for Colorado, which sits last in the West and tied with Florida for the fewest points in the League, the third period of Monday's game in Detroit proved the Avalanche aren't ready to just roll over. They spotted the Red Wings a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes, but fought hard and almost erased the entire deficit. Jamie McGinn broke the ice on a power play and Matt Duchene lit the lamp with 1:18 remaining, but time ran out before the Avs could find a way to get the equalizer in a 3-2 defeat.

Predators: This is the start of a three-game homestand for Nashville, which like its opponent Tuesday also staged a two-goal comeback in its Monday game. For the Predators, it was enough to wrest a point from the top team in the conference, Chicago, as David Legwand and Taylor Beck scored 3:30 apart to pull them into a 2-2 draw with the Blackhawks. The Predators were unable to secure the second point, however, dropping a 3-2 final via a five-round shootout. As a result, they are still fifth in the Central Division, but just two points out of third.

Who's hot: Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has a pair of extra-time losses to show for his past two starts, but he's been excellent in both, stopping 61 of 64 shots. Legwand has two multi-point outings in his past three games.

Injury report: Colorado placed forwards Paul Stastny (foot) and Milan Hejduk (shoulder) on injured reserve Monday, where they joined forward Steve Downie (knee) and defenseman Ryan Wilson (ankle). Forward David Jones (knee) is day-to-day. … Nashville forward Colin Wilson (upper body) and defenseman Scott Hannan (upper body) are on injured reserve. Forward Mike Fisher (bruised hand) is day-to-day.

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