Game Preview: Predators vs. Avalanche
The Nashville Predators continue a 3 game home stand at Bridgestone Arena tonight Vs the Colorado Avalanche. This will be the third of four matchups between the teams this season with the final game being played in Denver on 4/7. The Preds defeated Colorado 3-2 in OT on 1/12 at Bridgestone Arena when C David Legwand scored with 34 seconds remaining in the extra session. The season series between the teams sit at 2-0 in favor of The Preds.
The Avalanche are 7-3 over the last 10 games & are making a run at the 7-8 spot in the Western Conference Playoffs, but they will be slowed without C Matt Duchene who is out with a sprained ankle suffered on Tuesday night. The Avs have been sparked by the hot play of G Semyon Varlamov, who is 5-1 with .964 save percentage in his last 6 starts.
Preds F Jordin Tootoo did not receive any supplementary discipline from the NHL after receiving a 10 min misconduct for making contact with an official on Tues & will be eligible to play tonight. This is another game where The Preds will face a desperate team that is playing better as of late & will NEED to have a good start or else this week could go very bad for the home team. G Pekka Rinne usually bounces back after a tough game & as long as the team tightens up the D a little, they should return to the win column before facing Detroit to close out the home stand on Sat.
D Kevin Klein has missed the last 4 games & is expected to be questionable for the games the rest of the week due to an upper body injury. F Brian McGrattan has missed the last 13 games with an upper body injury, but has returned to practice. D Shea Weber was hit hard & appeared slow to get up for the 2nd game in a row on Tues, but returned, finished the game, & practiced on Wednesday.
The bottom line:
-The Nashville Predators are 38-20-7 (83 Pts) and sit 3rd in The Central Division, 8 Pts behind St Louis & 6 Pts behind Detroit.
-In the Western Conference The Predators are in 5th, 6 Pts behind Detroit with the chase pack: 6 Chicago (79), 7 Phoenix (75), 8 San Jose (74) & 9 LA (74).
-The Predators continue a 3 game home stand: Tonight Vs Colorado, Sat Vs Detroit (both teams in or fighting for a playoff spot).
-The Predators are 1-2-0 since Andrei Kostitsyn & Paul Gaustad joined the team.
-F Patric Hornqvist leads the team in Goals with 20 & now has 3 consecutive 20 goal seasons.
-F Martin Erat leads the team in Assists with 33 & Points with 48.
-F Jordin Tootoo leads the team with 80 PiM’s, Brian McGrattan has 61 PiM’s & 6 Fighting Majors (all at home).
-G Pekka Rinne leads the NHL in wins with 36 & has 3 Assists.
Leg-watch 500- With 1 Goal Vs Fla on Saturday, David Legwand now has 489 points in his career (184G 305 A) with the Predators.