The last time the Avalanche and Predators faced off was April 7th of 2012 where the Predators finished off Colorado by a score of 6-1 in front of their home crowd in their last home game of the season. It’s a new season with a new captain for Colorado in Gabriel Landeskog, but the same results appear in the standings as last season with the Avalanche hovering just above the cellar floor in the Western Conference (14th) and NHL (tied for 27th).
Nashville keeps on trucking with a 6-1-2 record in their last 9 games, good for 4th in the West and 6th in the NHL with 19 points. This Monday marks President’s Day and the Predators and Avalanche will enjoy a 2 P.M. starting time and can be heard on 102.5 the Game with Tom Callahan and Stu Grimson and viewed nationally on the NHL Network or locally on FS Tennessee with Pete Weber and Terry Crisp proving the play-by-play and color commentary.
The Avalanche have struggled for the first part of this season only garnering 11 points with a 5-7-1 record. One of their key offensive pieces, Ryan O’Reilly who was their leading scorer last season with 55 points (18 G, 37A) is still holding out in a contract dispute with the Avalanche brass. Matt Duchene coming off a concussion-shortened season is pacing the Avalanche with 14 points and free agent acquisition PA Parenteau is chipping in offensively with 11 points and leads Colorado with 7 goals.
The newly christened captain, Gabriel Landeskog has only managed to play in 4 games so far this year tallying a single point (one goal). Although practicing for the third straight day after suffering head and leg injuries over nine games ago, it is not expected that Landeskog will be in against the Predators on Monday night.
A player that might be in the lineup for the Predators is Patric Hornqvist. After suffering a leg injury against the Ducks on January 26th, the Predators electric right winger may crack the lineup Monday night against the Avalanche giving Nashville a potent down-low presence and goal scorer that it was lacking the last 10 games. Pekka Rinne’s shutout streak ended Saturday night with a Matt Beleskey goal but Rinne managed to keep the Predators in the game and through to overtime and a shootout to get the overtime loss point.
The expected lineup for the Predators:
For the Avalanche to win: Continuous pressure on the Predators. The Avalanche have to take away time and space from the Nashville Predators since lately the Predators have been dangerous on the cycle and getting those tip-in goals and rebound chances. If Hornqvist cracks the line-up, the chances become that much more severe in the slot so it’ll be up the the Colorado players to keep the Predators to the outside, clear out lanes and pucks and eliminate Nashville’s ability to screen.
Varlamov has not played as he was billed to when acquired from Washington. His GAA and SV% are below-average and he has dropped 7 games on the year while allowing 30 goals in 11 contests, almost 3 per game. JS Giguere has two wins for the Avalanche so far and if he can stay vigilant, it could be a long night for the Predators as Giguere has the ability to put a team on lock-down.
For the Predators to win: Continue the effort, with just a touch more defense. The shots on goal against the Ducks were an uncharacteristic amount for the Predators and that constant pressure helped Nashville to gain two one-goal leads and get an overtime loss point against one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference. Even though the Ducks capitalized on the very few mistakes the Predators made Saturday night, the Predators shooting effort was a welcome improvement for a team that has been for lack of a better word, anemic, when putting shots on goal.
Rinne has been playing all-world over the last few weeks, but with the back-to-back and the altitude adjustment for playing in Colorado, expect Mason to get the call and Rinne to start against the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night in Nashville. Hopefully Hornqvist is close to returning either against Colorado or Detroit as another forward unafraid to shoot the puck will make Nashville an even more imposing team with their shut-down defense and solid one-two combination in net.
Looking at the Predators/Avalanche matchup historically…
Last Win in Colorado: 4/7/12 (6-1)
Last Loss in Colorado: 1/22/10 (1-2)
Overtime Record: 5-1-5
Longest Winning Streak: 9 (2/4/10-4/7/12)
Longest Losing Streak: 3 (2/27-10/5/99)
Most Goals by Nashville: 6 (4/7/12, 6-1)
Most Goals by Colorado: 7 (1/1/03, 3-7)
Most Goals by Both Teams: 10 (1/1/03, 3-7)
Last Five/Ten Games: 5-0-0 / 9-1-0
Last Transaction 1/19/12: Claimed Brandon Yip on waivers from Colorado.
Series Notes via the Nashville Predators Media Guide (thanks to the Predators PR department)
4/7/12: Nashville closed out the 2011-12 regular season by sweeping its season series with Colorado for the second consecutive season with a 6-1 vistory at the Pepsi Center…
1/12/12: David Legwand scored two goals, including one in overtime, as Nashville overcame a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 at Bridgestone Arena…
1/10/12: Ryan Ellis scored his first career game-winning goal in a 4-1 victory at Pepsi Center…
2/12/11: Mike Fisher had an assist in his Predators debut, a 5-3 victory at Bridgestone Arena…
11/25/09: David Legwand scored 3:07 into overtime and both Shea Weber (1g-1a) and Jason Arnott (2a) had two points in a 4-3 win at the Pepsi Center…
10/8/09: Patrc Hornqvist scored twice in a span of 2:17 of the third period to lift the Predators to a 3-2 victory in the 2009-10 home opener at Bridgestone Arena…
12/4/08: David Legwand scored the game-winning goal with 0.3 left in the first period, and became Nashville’s all-time leader in games played (574) in a 3-2 victory at Bridgestone Arena…
10/4/07: Chris Mason stopped 35 shots as Nashville shut out Colorado 4-0 in the 2007-08 season opener at Bridgestone Arena…
1/1/03: Peter Forsberg registered six points (1g-5a) in a 7-3 Avalanche victory at Bridgestone Arena, setting the building record for points in a game…
1/27/01: Colorado held Nashville to a franchise-record low nine shots on goal in the Avalanche’s 5-1 win…
12/26/00: Scott Walker recorded the Predators’ first-ever hat trick at Bridgestone Arena…
2/19/99: Joe Sakic recorded the first hattrick against Nashville in a 4-4 tie at Bridgestone Arena.