PREDATORS (14-14-6) at AVALANCHE (11-18-4)
TV: FS-TN, ALTITUDE
Last 10: Nashville 4-5-1, Colorado 2-8-0
Season series: This is the second of three meetings between clubs situated outside of the Western Conference's top eight. Colorado took the first meeting 6-5 on Feb. 18, and the teams will wrap up their series in Nashville on April 2.
Big story: Nashville was two points out of a playoff spot entering Friday, and with an upcoming stretch in which they'll play eight of 10 games at home, they're looking to make a push. Colorado will look to end a four-game losing streak with the home game at Pepsi Center, where they are 9-6-1 this season.
Predators: After winning the first three games of a four-game homestand, Nashville appeared poised to make a run entering a pivotal matchup against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday at Bridgestone Arena.
In a meeting between teams known for keeping the puck out of the net, the opening period was a wild one. Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal started the scoring 1:46 into the game and the floodgates opened from there. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was chased from the crease after the Coyotes took a 3-0 lead in less than four minutes, and by the time 20 minutes were over, Phoenix led Nashville 6-3 with Rostislav Klesla notching four assists in the period.
"I've been here a long time and I haven't seen anything like that," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "They scored three goals on three shots. They had five goals on six shots. Mentally, that's pretty stunning because that doesn't happen very often."
Avalanche: With a 2-2-1 record to open March, Colorado showed signs of life after posting an encouraging 5-4-3 record in February. But the team was mired in a three-game losing skid when it visited the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
Against their Northwest Division rival, the Avalanche fell behind when Alexandre Burrows opened the scoring 4:27 into the first period. The Avalanche kept fighting in the stanza though and outshot the Canucks 21-13 through 40 minutes.
Their efforts finally bore fruit when Matt Duchene scored his 13th goal of the season to tie the game 4:02 into the third period. Colorado carried the play through the first part of the third, but it was the Canucks that took the lead. Daniel Sedin scored the go-ahead goal midway through the period for Vancouver, and Henrik Sedin and Chris Higgins each scored empty-net goals in the closing minute of regulation as the Avalanche suffered a 4-1 loss. Colorado outshot Vancouver by a 33-20 margin in the game.
Who's hot: Predators forward Mike Fisher has nine points in an eight-game point streak. Forward Gabriel Bourque has four points in his past three games. … Avalanche forward PA Parenteau has six points during a four-game points streak. Forward Gabriel Landeskog has six points in his past seven games.
Injury report: The Predators will welcome forward Craig Smith and Paul Gaustad back to their lineup, but Fisher (bruised hand) is doubtful. Forward Colin Wilson (upper body) is on injured reserve while defenseman Scott Hannan (upper body) will likely miss the game. … Avalanche center Paul Stastny is out for a few more days with a foot injury while right wing David Jones is day-to-day with a knee injury. Forward Steve Downie (knee surgery, out for the season) and defenseman Ryan Wilson (ankle) are on IR.
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