The Nashville Predators (13-8-1) are making a quick one day trip to Colorado to play the Avalanche (14-7-3) in a Thanksgiving eve showdown at the Pepsi Center with the puck set to drop at 8 p.m. Central.
The game will be a rematch of teams that played in the Predators home opener, a game that the Preds won 3-2 what was Colorado's only regulation loss in their first fourteen games.
The game tonight is a meeting of teams headed in opposite directions. The Predators have won six straight and 11 of the last 14. After only one loss in their first 13 games, the Avs came back to earth and have been 4-6-1 since October 28.
The Avalanche have played well on home ice, going 7-2-0 while the Preds have played .500 (5-5-1) on the road.
The Avalanche will be sporting their new third jerseys for the second time tonight. The new thirds debuted on November 14th. The Preds will play in their new third jersey for the first time on Friday and Saturday night in a pair of games dubbed the "Black and Blue "weekend.
The Avs feature balanced scoring with seven players in double digits in points led by Paul Stasney (23) and Wojtek Wolski (20). They also sport two of the best rookies of the year in Matt Duschene and Cal O'Reilly's younger brother, Ryan.
Pekka Rinne (10-4-0) is set to start in goal for the Predators while Craig Anderson (13-6-3) is set to go for the Avs. Rinne has won ten of his last eleven games while Anderson is 3-5-1 in his last nine games.
The Predators hope that he recent success on the power play will continue as they are 11-0 in games where they have scored on the PP. After a horrible 0 of 30 streak early in the season, the Preds are 8 of 24 on the man advantage in their last five games.
For the season, the two teams are fairly evenly matched statistically on special teams. The Preds are ranked 24th (17.2%) on the man advantage while the Avs are 21st (18.1%). On the penalty kill the Preds are 16th (80.3%) while Colorado is 13th (81.4%).
Avs captain, Adam Foote, who has missed the last three games is expected to return but officially is a game time decision. Scott Hannan, who was hit in the neck by Daniel Brierre on Monday night, skated this morning and is expected to play.
After playing inconsistently in the past two games, including a near melt-down in the third period against Detroit on Monday, the Predators may be in need of a break in the home game routine.
Barry Trotz told Jim Diamond of the Examiner that the brief road trip was coming at a good time saying, “I’m a big advocate of you don’t want to be on the road too much, and you don’t want to be home too much. This should be a good break for everybody, and it comes at a good time right before Thanksgiving.”
After tonight's contest, things do not slow down for the Predators as they play three home games in four nights starting Friday with St. Louis. They will then play the Florida Panthers on Saturday, and the Calgary Flames on Monday.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass