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Predators open home season with visit from Avs @NHLdotcom

AVALANCHE (2-0-0) at PREDATORS (1-0-0)

Season series -- It's the first meeting of the season between the teams, neither of which has lost so far this season. Colorado won three of the four games last season.

Big Story -- After dealing the Dallas Stars their first season-opening loss at home since the franchise moved to the Lone Star State, the Predators open up Sommet Center for 2009-10. The surprising Avs, who opened with home wins over San Jose and Vancouver, begin a seven-game road trip, their longest of the season and arguably the toughest -- they go to Chicago, Boston, Montreal, Detroit and Minnesota before returning home Oct. 23.

Team Scope 

-- The NHL's Second Star of the Week, goalie Craig Anderson, went through all the drills in practice Wednesday and will be available for Thursday's game despite a sore groin.

"It was more just making sure we didn’t do any further damage to the area; a precautionary measure," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said when asked about Anderson not practicing on Tuesday. "He seemed like he was fine today out there. He looked sharp. He’ll be ready to go tomorrow."

Predators -- Coach Barry Trotz has remained mum on which of his two goalies will start the home opener. Dan Ellis got the win in Dallas and has a 0.50 GAA and .983 save percentage in his two starts against the Avs last season, including a hard-luck 1-0 loss last Nov. 8. Ellis lost the starting job to Pekka Rinne down the stretch last season but pulled even and earned the opening-night start after an excellent showing in camp.

Who's Hot -- Wojtek Wolski has three goals in Colorado's first two games, and also scored three goals in the Avs' four meetings with the Preds last season, including two in their final meeting on Jan. 6, a 2-1 Colorado win. Nashville rookie Mike Santorelli justified his coach's faith by getting the shootout winner at Dallas after Ellis got them through 65 minutes with a 38-save performance.

Injury Report -- David Jones (chest) will join the Avalanche for the start of the trip. The winger was injured in a preseason contest against the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 23 and has not played or gone through a full practice since, but has been skating on his own.

For Nashville, Jordin Tootoo and rookie Colin Wilson will miss the next two games, both with groin strains. No call has been made yet on J.P. Dumont, who did not skate Tuesday. The first-line right wing left in the second period Saturday after taking a hard check into the boards. Forward Joel Ward (groin) skated before Tuesday's practice then joined the team in the regular drills, though his availability is not yet confirmed.

Stat Pack -- Before taking three of four from the Preds last year, the Avs had split the season series in the previous two seasons.

Puck Drop -- Nashville signed veteran center Dave Scatchard on Wednesday. Scatchard, who didn't play last season, went to camp with Vancouver but didn't make the roster. The 33-year-old has played in 635 NHL games.

--Matt Mankiewicz,




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