AVALANCHE (31-18-6) AT PREDATORS (30-21-4)
Last 10 -- Colorado 7-3-0; Nashville 4-5-1
Season series -- This is the last of four meetings between Colorado and Nashville this season. The Predators have taken two of the three previous matchups, winning 3-2 at home on Oct. 8 and 4-3 in overtime at Pepsi Center back on Nov. 25. The Avs won 2-1 in Denver on Jan. 22.
Big story -- Both clubs have hit a bit of a rough patch lately, with Colorado dropping three of its last four games and Nashville having only won once in its last seven. However, both teams are still in the top eight in the West, with the Avs maintaining the sixth seed with 68 points and the Preds hanging on to a playoff berth with 64 points.
Avalanche -- After their recent six-game winning streak, the Avs went on to drop their next three games. But a dominating 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in Denver put an end to that losing streak. Rookies Brandon Yip and Ryan O'Reilly tallied twice, while Craig Anderson made 25 saves to lead Colorado to victory.
Predators -- Things have been a bit inconsistent over in Music City. Since the Preds won a season-high seven in a row back in mid-November, they haven't been able to string together a winning streak of more than four games since then. They will have the opportunity to attempt a new streak after losing 1-0 in a 10-round shootout to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday. Goalie Pekka Rinne stopped all 25 shots he faced through 65 minutes to earn his third shutout of the season, but didn't get a victory.
Who's hot -- Yip has five points in his last five games for the Avs. The first-year right wing has amassed 15 points in 19 games since joining Colorado on Dec. 19. T.J. Galiardi had assists on four of the Avs' five goals against Columbus. … Martin Erat has four points and is a plus-5 in his last five games for Nashville.
Injury report -- Forward Marek Svatos returned from a chest injury on Tuesday for the Avs. Defenseman Ruslan Salei (back) and forwards Milan Hejduk (knee), Ryan Stoa (shoulder), Matt Hendricks (ankle) and David Jones (torn ACL) all are on injured reserve, although Hejduk has been skating recently. For the Preds, Marcel Goc (upper body) returned to the lineup on Tuesday, while right wing Wade Belak (foot) remains listed as day-to-day.
Stat pack -- The Avalanche have killed off 24 consecutive penalties -- one shy of their longest streak of the season -- while scoring three shorthanded goals during that span, including two by O'Reilly on Tuesday.
Puck drop -- The NHL season has gotten to the point where every single point matters going down the stretch. With that said, you can still expect both clubs to be gunning for the coveted two points in regulation. However, the Predators are very much aware that sometimes even that one point is helpful, considering how tightly packed the Western Conference is.
"The important fact is that we still are making up ground on other teams," Steve Sullivan said after Nashville's shootout loss on Tuesday.