Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Predators head into Denver to take on Avalanche



The Nashville Predators will take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight at Pepsi Center for the first time in the 2011-2012 season. These teams will square off with one another tonight, and will then face each other again in Nashville on Thursday night.

"They are behind us in the standings so this is almost like a small playoff series. It's a big week for us. Every game is important, but playing against those teams that are always around you are four point games, and those can be huge for us," said Predators forward Patric Hornqvist.

Now that the second half of the season is here, wins are going to be huge from this point forward for the Predators. During the last few seasons, the Western Conference has been extremely competitive. So far, this year hasn't been any different.

"You win one and you're in fourth or fifth place in the league, and you lose one and you're in the bottom five. With how tight everything is right now, wins are going to be crucial," said Predators forward Colin Wilson.

Colorado is coming off of a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. The Avalanche have been really hot as of late, however, going 8-2-0 in their last 10 games.

Matt Duchene suffered a knee injury that will keep him out of the lineup for an extended period of time. Former Predator Shane O'Brien has also been ruled out of tonight's game with a knee injury.

My player to watch for the Avalanche is Ryan O'Reilly. He leads the team in points with 29 and is only 20 years old. He's the brother of former Predator Cal O'Reilly, and the Preds will have to be aware of his offensive skill when he's on the ice.

For Nashville, my player to watch is Nick Spaling. He was all over the ice on Saturday night against Carolina, and he had several scoring chances. The Predators have never lost in regulation when Spaling scores a goal so look for good things to happen for Nashville if he gets one tonight.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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