Venue: Pepsi Center
The Nashville Predators have had very little trouble with the Colorado Avalanche this season. Few teams have in the past two months.
The Predators look to boost their playoff hopes and sweep the Avalanche for the first time in franchise history when these teams meet Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.
Nashville (41-26-10) had a six-game win streak snapped with Tuesday's 3-1 home loss to Vancouver. The Predators totaled 23 goals during their run before getting outshot 32-17 by the Canucks.
It appears likely Nashville will bounce back after outscoring Colorado 14-6 in three victories this season, plus the Avalanche (28-39-8) have won just three of 26 games since Jan. 25. The Predators, however, are wary of a matchup with the Western Conference's second-worst team, especially since Avs star center Matt Duchene has 11 points in his last eight games.
"Colorado's a dangerous team," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "They've played us tough all year. They got lots of speed, they got lots of skill. Duchene is on fire right now. And they're at home so they're going to be determined to put a wrench in our plans."
The Predators remain in the top eight in the West with five games left.
Trotz was disappointed with Nashville's 0-for-5 effort on the power play Tuesday. The Predators have one of the league's worst units at 14.8 percent and are 3 for 28 over their last 10 games - an 8-2-0 stretch.
"I thought our power play wasn't very good today," the coach said. "We haven't had a lot of chances to use it in the last little while but usually (get) some pretty good zone time and create some chances. Maybe we don't get a goal but usually we're pretty good."
Nashville is 1 for 12 this season against Colorado, which owns the worst penalty kill in the NHL at 76.3 percent.
Martin Erat has six points against Colorado this season, Patric Hornqvist four and Shea Weber three.
Duchene has two goals and an assist in the season series, but the Avalanche are 0 for 7 on the power play.
Pekka Rinne has started all three meetings against Colorado, posting a 2.01 goals-against average. He's 7-2-0 with a 1.99 GAA over his last nine starts.
Center Mike Fisher has three goals over his last two games for Nashville after going 17 without one. He's scored once in 15 games against Colorado.
The Avalanche do not have a regulation win since Feb. 22, going 2-12-1 since. They blew an early two-goal lead Monday in their third straight loss, 5-4 at Anaheim.
"It's disappointing," coach Joe Sacco said. "We worked hard, I think, for the most part."
Colorado gave up two more power-play goals and has allowed 11 in 38 chances over its last 11 games.
The Avalanche are 1-8-1 at home since their last regulation victory at the Pepsi Center on Jan. 24.
"We just gotta go into Denver and get the two points that we need and just keep on getting on that win streak," Nashville rookie defenseman Jonathan Blum said.
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