Predators-Avalanche Preview

The Associated Press

The Nashville Predators hoped to arrive in Denver on a season high-tying four-game winning streak - and in the top eight in the Western Conference - but one of the worst 20-minute stretches in club history prevented that.

Their recent play on the road may suggest that they'll have a difficult time bouncing back.

The Predators will be seeking just their second victory in 12 games away from Nashville when they face the Western Conference-worst Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Looking to sweep a four-game homestand, Nashville (14-14-6) was burned for six first-period goals en route to a 7-4 loss to Phoenix on Thursday. It matched the highest number given up in a period in club history and tied the Predators' total allowed over the previous three games.

A victory would have pulled Nashville into a tie with St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"Yeah, it was embarrassing,'' said Pekka Rinne, who was pulled after giving up three goals but returned when Chris Mason surrendered three scores on nine shots. "They just ... everything they did found a way to the back of the net.''

That's also seemed to be the case in the team's past 10 road contests. Nashville has given up 42 goals in that 1-9-0 span - it's 1-9-1 in its last 11 away games - and has dropped four in a row on the road while allowing 20 goals.

The Avs (11-18-4), tied with Florida with a league-low 26 points, are averaging 2.5 goals. However, they were on target Feb. 18 against Mason as they equaled their best offensive performance of the season in a 6-5 victory.

Nashville had outscored the Avalanche 39-17 while winning the previous nine matchups.

That victory started Colorado's season-high five-game home win streak, but the club has dropped four of its last five there. The Avs probably don't feel too confident heading into this matchup after falling for the eighth time in nine games Thursday, 4-1 at Vancouver.

It was Colorado's 11th consecutive road defeat.

"If there was one positive to take out of the game is we didn't get down after they scored the first goal and they didn't take a 2-0 lead,'' said forward P.A. Parenteau, who extended his point streak to four by setting up Matt Duchene's 13th goal. "We stuck with it all game, we played really well throughout the course of the game here but at the end of the day it's disappointing we didn't end up with the two points.''

It could be tough for the Avs to do that if Rinne is in net. He turned aside all 10 shots faced as Mason's replacement last month and has gone 8-0-0 with a 1.84 goals-against average in his last 10 games versus Colorado.

The Avs' Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves in that contest, but it's uncertain if he'll get a chance to end his three-start losing streak Saturday.Jean-Sebastien Giguere may not be a better option, as the veteran has gone 0-2-1 with a 3.55 GAA in his last five appearances.

Nashville center Mike Fisher has five goals and four assists during a career high-tying eight-game point streak, while leading scorer Martin Erat owns a four-game point streak with a goal and seven assists in that stretch.

Duchene has at least one point in eight straight games in this series. He has six goals and four assists during that run after recording one and two, respectively, Feb. 18.

Nashville had won four in a row at Colorado while outscoring the Avs 18-5 prior to last month's defeat.

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