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24-15-4

Avalanche-Predators Preview

AP - Sports

Two straight games against the Colorado Avalanche could not have come at a better time for the Nashville Predators.

Surging Nashville seeks its seventh straight win over Colorado when the teams conclude their home-and-home set Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators (23-15-4) have won five of their last six games after Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the Avalanche, also extending their winning streak in the series.

Nashville has outscored Colorado 26-12 over the last six meetings. Martin Erat had a goal and an assist, giving him four goals and six assists versus the Avalanche in that span.

Pekka Rinne made 32 saves and has a 2.00 goals-against average while winning each of those matchups versus the Avs.

''Our system has countered (Colorado's) system pretty well the past couple of years,'' said coach Barry Trotz, whose team is 7-0-0 when Erat scores. ''I don't have any one thing I can say we've done, but our goaltender's been a big key.''

Rinne improved to 5-1-0 with a 1.95 GAA during the Predators' hot streak.

''We seem to match up pretty well against them,'' Rinne said. ''I'm not saying it's easy. They had a pretty good second period, but we weathered the storm in the second period pretty well.''

Patric Hornqvist scored to give him three goals in two games, and Ryan Ellis scored on the power play.

Nashville, which improved to 18-2-2 when scoring more than two goals, has converted five of eight power-play attempts over its last two games after going 0 for 16 in its previous five games.

Ryan O'Reilly scored the lone goal in the second period for the Avalanche (23-20-1), who have been outscored 8-1 in losing their last two games after winning nine of their previous 10.

''There's no excuses. It's our decision out there, how we play,'' said O'Reilly, who leads the team with 30 points but has only two goals and two assists over his last seven games. ''It wasn't our best. I don't think we were committed right away and it took a while to get that, to regroup as a team.''

Still, coach Joe Sacco said his squad could build off the effort showed during the middle part of the contest.

''If we had played the game like we played the second period and some of the third period we may have had an opportunity for a different outcome,'' Sacco said.

Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves but lost for the first time in five starts. It's unclear if he or Jean-Sebastien Giguere will be in net for this contest, though Varlamov has won three straight road starts with a 0.97 GAA in that stretch.

The Predators have won four straight meetings at home, with Erat and O'Reilly each scoring in Nashville's 4-2 win in the most recent meeting at Bridgestone Arena on March 12.

Nine of the last 13 meetings in Nashville have been decided by one goal, with the Predators winning 10 of those matchups. Colorado last won a road game in the series with a 2-1 victory Jan. 6, 2009.