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Game Day: Avalanche vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(12-16-1) Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators (15-9-5)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #COLvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Golden Saturday

The Nashville Predators host a Central Division foe in the Colorado Avalanche tonight at Bridgestone Arena on a Golden Saturday, the first of five meetings between the two clubs this season, three of which will take place in the Music City.

The Preds are looking to continue their winning ways after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in Nashville on Thursday by a 5-1 final. James Neal tallied twice and Pekka Rinne stopped 35 shots in the victory. The Predators are 2-2-1 in their last five games and sit third in the ultra-competitive Central with 35 points.

Colorado fell to Pittsburgh 4-2 on Wednesday, giving them an even 5-5-0 mark in their last 10. The Avs have 12 wins on the season and sit at the bottom of the division with 25 points. Colorado could be without their Captain Gabriel Landeskog on Saturday due to injury, but the Preds certainly won't be overlooking their opponent.

“Colorado is dangerous, they have a lot of skill, they play hard and they’re in our division, so right away, everything is more of an emphasis because it’s a division game,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re going to have to be ready to play."

The Predators enter tonight's game with a 9-1-1 record over their last 11 home games against the Avalanche. In each of those 11 contests, the Preds have posted at least three goals, outscoring the Avalanche 34-24. The Preds have also posted over 30 shots in 10 of those contests. Pekka Rinne has not lost a home game in regulation to the Avalanche since Jan. 6, 2009, posting an 8-0-1 record since then.  

The Preds also continue to see success with the man advantage, having scored six power-play goals over their last four games, going 6-for-14 during that span (43 percent).

Defenseman Roman Josi paces the Preds in points with 22, including seven goals on the season. Neal's 12 goals lead the team and his 20 points are second among Preds skaters. Captain Shea Weber and forward Filip Forsberg each have 19 points, with Weber scoring nine goals in 2015-16, eight of them coming on the power play. Rinne has gone 12-7-5 for the Predators this season with a 2.40 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

Defenseman Ryan Ellis has points in four of his last five games versus the Avalanche (2g-5a) while Calle Jarnkrok is on a two-game goal streak against the Avs. Mike Ribeiro has six assists in his last five games against Colorado.

Matt Duchene leads the Avs in goals and points with 15 and 26, respectively. Nathan MacKinnon has potted 10 goals and 25 points on the season, followed by the injured Landeskog with 21 points. Veteran Jarome Iginla has found the back of the net eight times this season and is just three goals away from 600 for his NHL career. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov is 7-8-1 on the season with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.

Nashville won three of the five contests last season, posting a 3-2-0 record. All-time, the Preds have a 31-25-8 record against the Avalanche, including a 17-10-4 record at Bridgestone Arena.

Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Barret Jackman, Pekka Rinne and Ryan Ellis

What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown (Field Trip Edition)

Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette

Projected Lineups:

Forwards Mike Fisher (IR; lower-body), Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body) and Colin Wilson (lower-body) did not participate in Saturday's morning skate at Centennial Sportsplex.

Nashville Predators:

Filip Forsberg Calle Jarnkrok James Neal
Viktor Arvidsson Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Cody Hodgson Colton Sissons Austin Watson
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Miikka Salomaki
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis


Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Anthony Bitetto, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Mike Fisher (IR; lower-body), (F) Colin Wilson (lower-body)

Colorado Avalanche:

Mikhail Grigorenko Nathan MacKinnon Matt Duchene
Andreas Martinsen Carl Soderberg Blake Comeau
Alex Tanguay John Mitchell Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod Chris Wagner Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin Erik Johnson
Nick Holden Tyson Barrie
Brandon Gormley Nate Guenin


Goaltenders: Semyon Varlamov is the expected starter in net with Reto Berra serving as the backup.

Extra: (F) Gabriel Landeskog, (D) Brad Stuart (IR), (F) Ben Street (IR), (F) Jesse Winchester (IR)

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