Colorado (19-19-1) at Nashville (17-18-3)

Cloudy Currently: Nashville, TN
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Jan 6, 2009
  • TV: ALT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

When Colorado and Nashville met last week, the Avalanche were surging behind a red-hot offense. That offense has since suddenly cooled off.

Colorado looks to break out of its scoring slump and avoid losing its fourth straight game Tuesday when it visits the Predators, who are trying not to lose five in a row.

Despite injuries to their top two centers—Joe Sakic (back/hand) and Paul Stastny (fractured forearm)—the Avalanche (19-19-1) were still generating a lot of offense a week ago.

They defeated Nashville 5-1 on Dec. 29 behind two goals from Cody McLeod to cap a three-game winning streak. Colorado scored 14 goals in that span and moved into a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with the win over the Predators.

The Avalanche have not picked up a point since then, however, dropping to 12th in the conference.

Colorado’s slumping offense has been the biggest reason for its skid, as its been outscored 11-2 in losing its last three games.

“Everyone goes through phases,” Avalanche left wing Ryan Smyth said after Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Minnesota. “It’s a matter of fighting through it.”

In an attempt to ignite a sluggish scoring attack, Colorado coach Tony Granato juggled the lineup Sunday, moving Wojtek Wolski from left wing to center. The switch didn’t immediately pay off.

“We should be winning these games,” Wolski said. “We can’t let points slip away like that. If we don’t, we’ll find ourselves chasing a playoff spot.”

The Predators are also falling out of the playoff picture.

After pulling within one point of fourth place in the West on Dec. 6, Nashville has gone just 3-8-1 since to fall all the way to 14th.

The Predators dropped their fourth consecutive game with a 3-2 loss to Calgary on Saturday. Nashville has been outscored 15-6 during its skid—its longest since losing five in a row Dec. 10-19, 2007.

In Saturday’s loss, defenseman Dan Hamhuis turned over the puck deep in the Predators’ zone, leading to the game-winning goal with 24 seconds remaining in regulation.

“We have one little bad play that turns out to be the game-winning goal,” said goaltender Dan Ellis, who stopped 23 shots. “Those are the little things that we really need to bear down on, the errors, because that is what is costing us.”

Ellis has been in net for two games during Nashville’s losing streak, and did not play in last week’s game against the Avalanche.

Backup goalie Pekka Rinne, who is 0-3-0 with a 2.92 goals-against average in his last four games, stopped 16 shots in last week’s loss to Colorado.

Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj has been in net for all three games against the Predators this season, going 2-1-0 with a 1.34 GAA and one shutout. He is 6-3-0 with 2.18 GAA lifetime against them.

Budaj has been in net for each game during Colorado’s skid, and is 2-6-0 with a 3.23 GAA since Dec. 12.

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Tuesday, Jan 6