Despite having one of the league’s highest-scoring offenses, the Colorado Avalanche have struggled to put together any kind of winning streak over the last month. Their frustrating play on the road has been a big reason why.
The Avalanche try to avoid consecutive losses on the road when they visit the Nashville Predators on Thursday in the opener of a home-and-home series between the teams.
Colorado (16-13-1) is just a few days removed from its first consecutive wins since early November. The Avalanche won a pair of games at home over the weekend, following a 2-1 Friday night victory over Philadelphia with a season high in goals on Sunday, when they best St. Louis 9-5.
But playing well at home, where the Avalanche are 12-3-0 this season, has not been a problem. Winning on the road has been a different story, as evidenced by Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to Columbus that dropped Colorado to 4-10-1 away from home, including 2-6-0 in its last eight games there.
The Avalanche have scored 32 goals in 15 road games - barely half their total of 60 goals in the same number of games at the Pepsi Center.
The futility on offense continued Wednesday night, when Colorado managed a season-low 16 shots and Ben Guite scored the only goal against the Blue Jackets. Milan Hejduk had only one shot on net, and saw a seven-game scoring streak during which he’d tallied 14 points come to an end.
“There weren’t many scoring chances, there weren’t many shots,” Hejduk said. “It was kind of a frustrating game.”
Colorado has also been frustrated recently in Nashville, where it is 1-3-2 in its last six visits, including a 4-1 loss on Oct. 4. The Predators have won the last two meetings overall in the series, and nine of 13 matchups dating to the 2003-04 season.
However, the Predators (14-12-2) come into Thursday’s game having dropped three of their last four, including a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday in which Martin Gelinas provided Nashville’s only offense.
The Predators failed to take advantage of seven power-play opportunities, and are just 1-for-25 with the man advantage over their last four games.
“We had lots of chances on the power play, but we just couldn’t close the deal,” coach Barry Trotz told the team’s official Web site. “There were a couple of power plays where we had nearly two minutes of zone time, we just couldn’t put it in the back of the net.”
Dan Ellis recorded 33 saves but suffered his second consecutive loss after opening the season with a 6-0-0 record. He has never faced Colorado, while teammate Chris Mason is 4-1-0 lifetime with a 1.60 goals-against average against the Avalanche.
These teams meet again on Saturday in Denver.