Avalanche @ Predators Preview: Once More, With Feeling

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 10: Patric Hornqvist #27 of the Nashville Predators takes a shot at goalie Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on January 10, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Predators defeated the Avalanche 4-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators will try to follow up Tuesday's 4-1 victory over Colorado with another win over the Avalanche tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Now that we're into the second half of the season it's time to look ahead to playoff probabilities, and when you consult SportsClubStats.com, their model says that a win in regulation would push the Preds' playoff chances up to a healthy 67.8%. It's not just about earning the two points for Nashville, but keeping Colorado from earning any, as well.

Follow after the jump for more!

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Tale Of The Tape

Nashville (23-15-4) at Colorado (23-20-1)
NSH Offense vs. COL Defense COL Offense vs. NSH Defense
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
NSH Offense 2.2 (20th) 26.6 (27th) 8.3 (14th) 2.4 (11th) 30.7 (23rd) 922 (11th) NSH Defense
COL Defense 2.6 (16th) 29.6 (13th) 914 (16th) 2.0 (27th) 29.7 (12th) 6.9 (29th) COL Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
NSH 5-on-4 7.7 (3rd) 51.0 (13th) 15.1 (5th) 6.8 (21st) 52.9 (22nd) 872 (17th) NSH 4-on-5
COL 4-on-5 6.4 (19th) 40.1 (2nd) 841 (28th) 6.6 (8th) 53.6 (5th) 12.2 (15th) COL 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

Can the Nashville power play keep on trucking against an Avs team that doesn't give up many shots on the PK, but have the 3rd-worst save percentage in the league there?

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche will presumably try to build momentum off the final two periods from Tuesday night, as they carried the flow of play (only after falling behind 3-0, of course). They'll still be without Shane O`Brien (knee injury), but Peter Mueller may well return, after missing 40 games with a concussion. He played in only 3 games back in October, after missing the entire 2010-2011 season with another one. If he is able to play tonight, he deserves some recognition from the fans for persevering on a long road back to the ice.

According to the Denver Post, it looks like Semyon Varlamov will be back in goal for the Avs. UPDATE: It turns out that J.S. Giguere will take the ice instead...

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

#35 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche



May 16, 1977

2011 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere 17 950 9 6 0 33 2.08 434 401 .924 1

Nashville Predators

The only lineup question we really have is whether Jerred Smithson will be ready to play after missing Tuesday's game with a lower body injury. Practice was canceled yesterday, so we'll have to wait until at least the morning skate to find out whether he's fit for duty.

Expect Pekka Rinne to suit up again in goal, given the day off between games. He boasts a career 8-3-0 record against Colorado even though his save percentage is just .909 in those 11 contests. For the Preds, tonight is all about keeping the hot streaks rolling. They've dominated the Avalanche lately (six straight wins against them), have played well on home ice (8-2-0 in the last 10) and Patric Hornqvist feasts on the Avs (6 goals & 6 assists in 10 games). Can the good times stay alive tonight?

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