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Predators face tough task at home vs. Avalanche

It’s been nearly a month since the Nashville Predators won back-to-back games.

Considering their recent struggles against the surging Colorado Avalanche, achieving that feat when the teams meet Monday night in Nashville likely won’t be easy.

Nashville snapped its season-high four-game losing streak with Saturday’s 4-2 victory home victory against Chicago. Cole Smith scored twice, Yakov Trenin had a goal with an assist and Kevin Lankinen made 29 saves for the Predators, who are 3-7-0 since winning consecutive games — for the only time this season — on Oct. 19 and 21.

“This was a big game for us,” said Smith, who snapped a 10-game points drought.

“We’ve got to stack wins together here since we put ourselves in this little bit of a hole, but (Saturday’s victory) feels good.”

Nashville, though, is mired in an 0-7-1 rut versus Colorado, which includes being swept in four games during the 2022 playoffs. The Predators have just three wins in their past 15 regular-season and playoff contests against the Avalanche, who enter this matchup riding a three-game winning streak, during which they own a 19-6 goal advantage.

Colorado trailed 3-0 early in the second period at Dallas on Saturday. The Avalanche then scored the next six goals to stun the Stars, win 6-3 and improve to 6-3-0 on the road this season.

Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and Ross Colton each had a goal with an assist, while Cale Makar added three assists of his own for Colorado, which has scored six or more goals five times already on the young season.

“I think (Saturday night), we knew we were playing well and we still had that belief that we could win,” said Makar, who has 12 assists during his six-game point streak.

“It was a very lively bench, very lively game, and it’s a lot of fun when they guys are playing like that. When we’re controlling the pace of the game, that’s the way we like to play.”

Nichushkin has scored four of his six goals in the past three games. Meanwhile, Rantanen has recorded five goals with four assists during the past six for the Avalanche, who have opened the season with 11 wins in 16 games.

Makar’s totaled seven goals and 17 assists during 24 regular-season and playoff games against the Predators.

Colorado’s Alexandar Georgiev made 25 saves Saturday, and has allowed all six goals, on 64 shots faced, during his team’s three-game winning streak. Backup Ivan Prosvetov has stopped 45 of 50 shots in splitting his two starts this season.

Meanwhile, Lankinen has a 2.67 goals-against average in his three 2023-24 starts behind Juuse Saros, who owns a 4.33 goals-against average and .859 save percentage while losing all five November starts.

With an assist on Saturday, Nashville’s Filip Forsberg has totaled seven points in the past four games. However, Forsberg recorded just two points spanning his past seven regular-season and playoff games against the Avalanche.

First-year Predator and ex-Av Ryan O’Reilly has a goal with three assists in his past four contests.

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