Series (Game 4 of 4)

Nashville leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 8th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 25th
Game 3: Friday, January 22nd
Game 4: Thursday, February 4th

Avalanche 3

(31-19-6, 68 pts)

Predators 5

(31-21-4, 66 pts)

8:00 PM ET, February 4, 2010

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 T
COL 1 1 13
NSH 0 4 15

P. Hornqvist (Predators - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

J. Arnott (Predators - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

S. Sullivan (Predators - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Avalanche-Predators Preview


When the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators met two weeks ago, both teams were likely feeling good about their momentum in the Western Conference playoff race.

When they meet again Thursday night in Nashville, each will be trying to get back on track.

The Predators and Avalanche met on Jan. 22, with Colorado winning 2-1 for its first win in three tries in the season series. The victory was part of a six-game winning streak from Jan. 9-24 for the Avalanche (31-18-6), who moved ahead of Vancouver for first place in the Northwest Division.

Colorado's winning streak was followed by a three-game skid, during which it scored only three goals and dropped back into second place. Two of those losses came at home.

The Avalanche hope they can reclaim some of their lost momentum after snapping their losing streak with a 5-1 victory over Columbus on Tuesday. Brandon Yip and Ryan O'Reilly scored two goals apiece and T.J. Galiardi had four assists.

Both of O'Reilly's goals in the third period were short-handed as Colorado continued its strong play on the penalty kill. The Avalanche haven't allowed a power-play goal since the second period against Nashville last month, and they killed off four power-play opportunities on Tuesday.

"We've been working as a unit together and everything is just going right," O'Reilly told the Avalanche's official Web site. "We're getting pucks out and being aggressive. There's a certain thing called controlled aggression, which is knowing when to go and when not to go. I think it all comes down to our reads. That's what we're doing well, reading the situation and knowing when to attack."

Colorado is back on the road Thursday before returning home to play its following four games. The Avalanche have won seven of their last 10 away from home and much of the success has been due to Craig Anderson, who started seven of those games, going 5-2-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average.

If Anderson, who is winless in four starts in Nashville, is in net Thursday again, he'll look to extend the recent struggles of the Predators (30-21-4), who have dropped six of seven after winning seven of the previous nine.

Nashville, however, has taken away at least one point in its last two games, beating Atlanta 4-3 on Saturday then losing 1-0 in a shootout to Phoenix on Tuesday. The Predators and Coyotes combined for five shots in overtime and Pekka Rinne was outstanding until giving up the deciding goal in the 10th round of the shootout.

Rinne is 2-3-1 with a 2.75 GAA in his last seven starts. He has split his two starts against the Avalanche -- both in Colorado.

Nashville is trying to take advantage of its final homestand before the Olympic break. The Predators have two more games left on this four-game stretch before beginning a four-game road trip. Their last four home games have each been decided by one goal, and the team is 1-2-1 during that stretch.

"The important fact is that we still are making up ground on other teams," left wing Steve Sullivan said.

The Predators are 2-1-0 against the Avalanche this season. The teams have split the last six games played in Nashville, with the Predators winning 3-2 on Oct. 8.