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|NSH||0||1||3||(0 - 0)||4|
Colorado Avalanche web staff contributed to this story.
AVALANCHE (30-12-5) at PREDATORS (21-21-7)
TV: Altitude, Fox Sports Tennessee
Last 10: Colorado 7-1-2; Nashville 4-3-3
Season series: The Avalanche and Predators split two games in Denver in October and November, and this game is the third of four overall this season. PA Parenteau scored twice in Colorado's 3-1 win Oct. 4, and Colin Wilson had two goals and two assists in Nashville's 6-4 win Nov. 6.
Big story: Goaltender Devan Dubnyk is likely to make his first start in goal Saturday for the Predators since arriving in a trade from the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
"[It] still feels a little bit surreal," Dubnyk said. "If you had asked me I wasn't sure if here was a possibility, and I'm beyond excited that it is. I get a chance to play here. I've always thought it was a great team, and to get an opportunity to come to a group like this, I'm beyond excited."
Avalanche: Colorado has regained its early-season form and tied Thursday the Avalanche's 2000-01 team for the fewest games (47) to 30 wins in franchise history. It's struggled lately in Tennessee, though, having lost its past seven trips to Nashville after being outscored 27-15.
Add to that Dubnyk, who is 6-4-0 in his career against the Avalanche, including 1-1-0 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .932 save percentage this season.
"He seems to always to play well against us when he played for Edmonton," Colorado forward Cody McLeod said. "He's a big goalie (6-foot-6), he's going to see a lot of pucks, so we have to make sure that we get in front of him and take his sight lines away, and hopefully get some ugly ones."
Center Paul Stastny (leg) is likely to return after missing two games. With several forwards sidelined this week, Colorado played with just 11 in a 2-1 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.
"It gives a chance to everyone to play more and prove something, and I think that's what our guys have been doing," coach Patrick Roy said Thursday night. "I'm very pleased. These are great character wins. It could be easy for us to feel sorry when we're losing players, and it's not the case. We keep going."
Predators: Dubnyk was 11-17-2 with a 3.36 goals-against average and .894 save percentage for Edmonton this season. He backed up Carter Hutton in Nashville's 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
Nashville is 16-17-6 since goalie Pekka Rinne was sidelined by an infection in his surgically repaired hip, using Hutton and Marek Mazanec. The Predators reassigned Mazanec to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Friday.
"[The Predators] are a real solid defensive team," Dubnyk said. "It's an unfortunate situation there with Pekka Rinne. It's obviously just a strange injury and you never want to see that. For right now, though, it's an opportunity for me to play some games there from now to the end of the year."
Who's hot: Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov has not lost in regulation since Dec. 10 (10-0-5). His run of 15 consecutive decisions without a regulation loss is the second longest streak in franchise history, one shy of Peter Budaj’s mark set in 2007. Colorado forward Ryan O'Reilly took over the team goals lead Thursday (18) and has four goals in three games and 12 points in his past 12 games.
Predators defenseman Shea Weber has 21 points (five goals) in his past 20 games, and forward Mike Fisher has 12 points (five goals) in his past 11. Forward Craig Smith has 12 points (eight goals) in his past 15, while forward David Legwand has seven points (two goals) in his past six. Nashville is the only team in the NHL that hasn't allowed a shorthanded goal this season, and has gone 67 games overall without doing so.
Injury report: Parenteau (knee) said Friday afternoon he is targeting Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs for his return. Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay (knee) said he is closer to returning. Defensemen Nate Guenin (ankle), Cory Sarich (back), and forward David Van Der Gulik (head) are on Injured Reserve.
Predators defenseman Kevin Klein (illness) did not play Thursday. Rinne has been cleared for weight-bearing exercise, but there is no timetable for his return.
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