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Game Day: Preds vs. Avalanche

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(32-21-12) Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche (33-29-4)
  2 P.M. (CT) | Pepsi Center | #NSHvsCOL
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 1:30 (CT)


The Nashville Predators will attempt to keep their franchise-record point streak alive as they begin a five-game road trip this afternoon in Colorado against the Avs. It's the third of five meetings on the season between two clubs who continue to battle for a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Nashville owns the first spot with 76 points. The Avalanche are tied with Minnesota with 70 points each, but the Wild currently sit in the second Wild Card slot.

The Preds are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to New Jersey on Thursday night, ending their five-game win streak. Colorado topped Florida by a 3-2 final on Thursday.

Despite the OT loss, Nashville set a franchise record with points in 11-straight games (7-0-4 record). The Preds have not lost in regulation since Feb. 9, 2016, allowing two goals or fewer on seven occasions during the stretch and shutting out the opposition three times. The previous record for most consecutive games with a point has happened on five other previous occasions (most recently from Dec. 27, 2014-Jan. 16, 2015 and a 8-0-2 record).

Filip Forsberg potted his 27th goal of the season on Thursday against the Devils, setting a career high in the category. Seventeen of those goals have come since the start of the calendar year, Forsberg tied for the League lead in goals during the month of February with 12, setting a franchise record for most goals by a Pred in a single month. The native of Ostervala, Sweden, was named the NHL's First Star of the Week last week for posting two hat tricks in three games. He was also the NHL's Third Star for the month of February.

Center Mike Ribeiro earned his 45th point of the season on Thursday night, reaching the mark for the 12th consecutive season – a span that goes back to the 2003-04 campaign. Among all active NHL players, he is the only skater to have at least 45 points in each of his last 12 seasons and is one of five players to have at least 40 points each campaign in that same span of time. Ribeiro joins Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Joe Thornton and Henrik Zetterberg as the only players to accomplish the feat.
 
Captain Shea Weber, who has 162 career goals, is one tally shy of tying Martin Erat for No. 2 on the franchise’s all-time goals list. Weber now stands at 183 power-play points (78g-105a), setting the mark for most man-advantage points in franchise history. The previous record holder was Kimmo Timonen, who registered 46 goals and 136 assists during his time with the Nashville Predators.

Forsberg leads the Preds with 27 goals and 49 points, followed by defenseman Roman Josi who has 47 points on the season. Ribeiro's 45 points rank third on the club, while Weber (40) and James Neal (39) are fourth and fifth in points. Neal has 22 goals on the season; Weber and Craig Smith have 16 apiece. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is 25-18-10 between the pipes; Carter Hutton owns a 7-2-2 record.

Defenseman Ryan Ellis has scored a point in six of his last seven games versus the Avalanche (3g-7a); Craig Smith has a point in three of his last four games against Colorado (2g-1a).

Matt Duchene is atop Colorado's offensive production with 27 goals and 50 points, followed by Nathan MacKinnon with 48 points and Tyson Barrie with 45. MacKinnon has scored 20 goals, while veteran Jarome Iginla has 19 on the season. Goaltender Calvin Pickard, who got the win for Colorado on Thursday, is 6-4-1; Semyon Varlamov is 22-17-3.

In the last meeting between the Preds and Avs on Jan. 8, Nashville fell by a score of 5-3. Ellis, Mike Fisher and Ryan Johansen all had a goal for Nashville. All-time the Preds have a 31-27-8 record against the Avalanche, including a 14-16-4 record at the Pepsi Center.


Projected Lineups:

Neither team held a morning skate on Saturday at Pepsi Center. The below Predators lineup is based on line rushes seen at practice on Friday.

Nashville Predators:

Forwards
Calle Jarnkrok Ryan Johansen James Neal
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Viktor Arvidsson
Miikka Salomaki Paul Gaustad Austin Watson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Anthony Bitetto Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm Petter Granberg

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Goaltenders: The Predators have not announced a starting goaltender for this afternoon's game. Pekka Rinne was in net for Nashville's 5-4 overtime loss to New Jersey on Thursday.

Extra: (D) Barret Jackman, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Eric Nystrom (IR; lower-body)


Colorado Avalanche:

Forwards
Mikhail Grigorenko Matt Duchene Jarome Iginla
Gabriel Landeskog Nathan MacKinnon Mikkel Boedker
Shawn Matthias Carl Soderberg Blake Comeau
Cody McLeod John Mitchell Jack Skille
Defense
Francois Beauchemin Erik Johnson
Nick Holden Tyson Barrie
Chris Bigras Andrew Bodnarchuk

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Goaltenders: Calvin Pickard is the projected starter in net with Semyon Varlamov serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Brad Stuart (IR), (F) Ben Street (IR), (F) Jesse Winchester (IR), (F) Ben Street, (D) Zach Redmond, (F) Chris Wagner, (F) Eric Gelinas

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