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Avs try for rare win in Nashville
(SportsNetwork.com) - Aiming for a fourth consecutive victory, the Colorado Avalanche will try to win in Nashville for the first time in over five years on Saturday night as they visit the Predators.
Colorado is set to play four of its next five on the road, following up Tuesday's home matchup against Toronto by playing three straight as the guest. The Avalanche will first aim to snap a seven-game road losing streak in Nashville, where they have not won since Jan. 6, 2009.
These two clubs have split two previous meetings this season -- both in Colorado -- and the Predators have won 11 of the last 14 encounters overall.
The Avs picked up a third straight win on Thursday night, besting the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout. Matt Duchene, on his 23rd birthday, and Ryan O'Reilly both scored in the tiebreaker for Colorado and Semyon Varlamov stopped the two skaters he faced.
Varlamov made 33 saves and improved to 10-0-5 in his last 16 games (15 starts) since his last regulation loss on Dec. 10. That is one game short of Peter Budaj's club record of consecutive decisions without a regulation loss, which he set by going 13-0-3 from Feb. 24-April 5, 2007.
"(Varlamov) stands on his head all year and he does it again tonight, makes some huge stops," said O'Reilly, who scored in regulation and has a goal in three straight.
Colorado, without forward Paul Stastny for a second straight game because of a leg injury, is 7-1-2 in its last 10 games and matched the 2000-01 Stanley Cup- winning club as the fastest to reach 30 victories in franchise history, doing so in 47 games.
The Avs are just a point back of the San Jose Sharks for fourth place in the Western Conference and are likely to give Varlamov the start tonight. He is 4-3-0 with a 2.84 goals against average in seven previous meetings with the Predators, including two starts this season.
Nashville could opt to give Devan Dubnyk his first start with the club tonight after picking up the goaltender on Wednesday from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Matt Hendricks.
The Predators had been going with the rookie tandem of Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec after losing No. 1 Pekka Rinne in late October with a hip infection and assigned Mazanec to the minors after acquiring Dubnyk.
Dubnyk, who is 8-4-1 with a 2.03 GAA in his career versus the Avs, was able to serve as the backup on Thursday night in Philadelphia, where Hutton made 27 saves through overtime in a 4-3 shootout win.
The victory was Nashville's first in a shootout this season. The Preds had lost each of their previous six tiebreakers, scoring just once on 19 shot attempts.
On Thursday, neither team scored in the first four rounds, then traded goals in the next two before Hutton came up with a stop on the Flyers' Wayne Simmonds. Defenseman Roman Josi, who failed in his only other career shootout try, followed up with a goal to give the Preds two straight wins after dropping six of seven.
"It was big. We obviously haven't won one this year and then getting down and them scoring. We stepped up and got two big goals when we needed them. Then (Josi) was able to go down the ice and put it away for us," Hutton said.
Shea Weber collected a goal and two assists for the Predators, who picked up their first road victory since Dec. 10, snapping a five-game slide as the guest. David Legwand and Eric Nystrom also tallied in regulation.
Nashville was forced to make blueliner Kevin Klein a late scratch due to illness and he is questionable for tonight.
01/18 11:30:06 ET