Avalanche-Predators Preview

The Associated PressApril 2, 2013

If the Nashville Predators want to return to the playoffs, they probably can't afford to lose too many more times to the lowly Colorado Avalanche.

The Predators have already dropped the first two meetings, but have to like their chances Tuesday night as they try to extend the Avalanche's road losing streak to 13 games.

Nashville (14-14-8) is in 11th place in the Western Conference with 36 points - two out of a postseason spot. With points at a premium, failing to beat Colorado (12-19-4) figures to be costly.

The Predators had won nine straight over the Avalanche entering this season, but fell 6-5 on Feb. 18 and 1-0 in overtime last Saturday to the West's worst team in the first two 2013 meetings.

Those contests were in Denver, and the Predators have won six straight at home in this series.

The Avalanche, meanwhile, are 0-9-3 in their last 12 on the road for the franchise's longest such slide since a team-record 18-game skid as the Quebec Nordiques from Jan. 18-April 1, 1990.

Nashville will be out to stop a 0-1-2 slide after falling 3-2 in a shootout at Chicago on Monday. The Predators battled back from a two-goal deficit thanks to third-period goals by David Legwand and Taylor Beck.

"We didn't play our best in the first and second, but we certainly brought it in the third," Beck said. "We easily could have got a third one there and won it in regulation."

Pekka Rinne made 38 saves for the Predators. He's 6-1-0 with a 2.29 goals-against average in seven career home starts against the Avalanche.

Martin Erat has now gone consecutive games without a point after totaling eight over his previous four contests.

Left wing Gabriel Bourque left Monday's game with an upper-body injury while center Mike Fisher missed his second straight game with the same ailment.

Colorado will again be without Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk, who were both placed on injured reserve Monday. Stastny, out with a left foot injury, is third on the team with 19 points while Hejduk, suffering from a shoulder problem, has 11.

It's not clear who the Avalanche will use in goal between Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who both saw action in Monday's 3-2 loss at Detroit. Varlamov made 34 saves Saturday to shut out Nashville while Giguere has only started six contests all season.

Varlamov saved 10 of 13 shots against the Red Wings, yielding two goals in a span of under four minutes in the second period. Giguere stopped all seven shots he faced.

"Five to 10 minutes during the second period, we fell asleep,'' Giguere said.

The Avalanche's comeback from a three-goal deficit fell short after Jamie McGinn and Matt Duchene scored in the third period.

Colorado is 2-9-0 in its last 11 games, conceding the first goal every time with the exception of the shutout of the Predators.

"Every night we're getting down and coming back,'' Duchene said. "We're putting ourselves in too deep of a hole.''