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Preds try to build momentum in home test vs. sliding Avs
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators will try to keep their playoff hopes alive with a third straight victory on Tuesday night when they go for a split of their season series with the Colorado Avalanche.
The Predators dropped the first two contests of a four-game road trip before bouncing back with wins over Calgary and Chicago. They saw Pekka Rinne post a 29-save shutout in Sunday's 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks.
Rinne posted his first shutout of the season and 31st of his career. It came in his 18th game of the campaign, one that saw him on the shelf for an extended period due to a hip injury and subsequent infection.
"He's been playing well for us lately," the Preds' Ryan Ellis said of Rinne. "He was outstanding. Great job for him to get the shutout."
Mike Fisher and Gabriel Bourque scored for the Predators, who are eight points back of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Nashville's lineup did take a hit in Sunday's win as young defenseman Seth Jones exited early with concussion-like symptoms that will likely keep him out of this game.
Patrick Eaves (lower body) and Paul Gaustad (upper body) are also dealing with injury, while forward Patric Hornqvist missed the win over the Blackhawks due to the birth of his child.
This is the fourth and final meeting between the Predators and Avalanche this regular season. Colorado has won two of three this season and four of the past six overall.
The Avs snapped a seven-game slide in Nashville with a 5-4 win on Jan. 18 and tonight likely face Rinne, who is 11-4-1 with a 2.03 goals against average in his career against them.
Semyon Varlamov will get the call for the Avs and is 5-3-0 with a 2.98 GAA in this series. He is coming off a solid performance on Friday in a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Varlamov made 26 saves, but Colorado lost for a third straight game (0-2-1).
"We did not create much and we could not get the puck away from the perimeter," said Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog.
Colorado, which has dropped four of five overall, was shut out for the first time this season despite playing almost the entire final five minutes with Varlamov on the bench for an extra skater.
Still, the Avalanche hold a comfortable nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central Division and are three points back of the second-place Blackhawks.
03/25 11:14:12 ET
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