|Nashville Predators||Colorado Avalanche|
|5-on-5 Save %||.916||17th||.905||24th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.12||25th||3.00||26th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.24||9th||3.85||27th|
Poor goaltending and a propensity to take penalties have undermined the Avalanche this season, as they are in prime contention for one of the top picks in this summer's draft. In their previous meeting this season, Colorado beat Nashville 6-5 on Presidents Day (remember that one?).
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A recent 1-8-0 stretch has killed off any hopes of making the playoffs in Colorado, which hasn't qualified for the post-season since 2010. It's widely expected that head coach Joe Sacco will take the fall, as things just don't seem to be coming together here in his fourth season at the helm.
One positive development has been the acquisition of P.A. Parenteau, however. Signed last summer to a four-year, $16 million contract as a free agent, many observers criticized the move as an over-payment by a desperate team, but he's paid off handsomely so far:
#15 / Left Wing / Colorado Avalanche
Mar 24, 1983
|2012 - P.A. Parenteau||33||14||20||34||-7||32||5||0||1||81||17.3|
With Colorado and Nashville set to become division rivals next season, this is a team worth keeping a close eye on. They seem to have an exciting group of young forwards (Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny, Ryan O`Reilly, etc.) but assembling a complete team around that core has proven to be a major challenge in Denver.
Make sure to head over to Mile High Hockey for more on the Avs ahead of tonight's game.
The Preds went through a roster shuffle yesterday, as Scott Hannan replaced Paul Gaustad on the Injured Reserve list, and Craig Smith rejoined the team following his conditioning stint in Milwaukee. After taking a puck to the hand Thursday night, Mike Fisher traveled with the team to Colorado, but he's uncertain to play this evening.
Keep a close eye on the Predators-related talk on Twitter (using our handy page) for updates as to whether Fisher might be able to go.
In the meantime, it's up to the rest of the veteran leadership group to lead the way in a game which, frankly, the Preds should win if they have hopes to make the playoffs. The Avalanche are in a death spiral, whereas Nashville comes into this game needing points in the standings. This is no time for excuses or mishaps.