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Game Day: Samuel Girard returns to Nashville as a member of the Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche and Predators meet for the first time since the big trade

NHL: Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche look to build a little momentum after a big win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday. The team heads to Nashville for the first game of a back-to-back in hopes of getting a big win in the division.

In a season full of firsts, the Avalanche will have another tonight. Dominic Toninato will make his NHL debut after being recalled from San Antonio to replace the injured Vladislav Kamenev. Look for the former Minnesota-Duluth captain to play a defensive role on one of the checking lines for as long as he’s up with the team.

So far this season, the Avs have been a completely different team away from the Pepsi Centre. While looking really good at home, it’s a totally different story when they get on the road - getting badly outshot in almost every game. The Avalanche will look to improve on their 3-6-1 record away from Denver.

Add to that, the fact that the Avs are on a seven-game losing streak against the Preds and this would be a great time to have a big game.

One thing that is different from those past seven games is that the Avalanche ha v a 19-year old stud on the blueline that will be looking to impress the team that drafted him.

Sam Girard has looked outstanding in the start to his Avalanche career and he will look to continue to make an impact tonight against the team that traded him away just two weeks ago.

Colorado Avalanche

The top line was flying Thursday night, so the hope is that they can continue their hot streak. MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen combined for 12 points and looked like an unstoppable force on almost every shift. The big three have found some chemistry and will be relied upon heavily tonight against Nashville’s steady defense..

Anton Lindholm is skating again - with a new piece on his helmet to protect his broken jaw - but he’s likely still at least a week or two away from getting back into game action.

Projected lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Colin Wilson - Alex Kerfoot - J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

Sven Andrighetto - Dominic Toninato - Nail Yakupov

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Mark Barberio - Nikita Zadorov

Andrei Mironov - Tyson Barrie

Starting goaltender: Semyon Varlamov

Nashville Predators

The Predators enter tonight’s game having won five of their past six games and will look to continue their dominance against the division rival Avs. With a 10-6-2 record, the Preds have only lost one home game in regulation this season.

Kyle Turris seems to be fitting in well with his new team, contributing three points in his past three games. He has added depth down the middle that gives Nashville a much more balanced forward group.

Filip Forsberg leads the team with 19 points in 18 games as he continues his development into one of the most underappreciated offensive stars in the NHL.

Projected lineup:

Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson

Kevin Fiala - Kyle Turris - Craig Smith

Calle Jarnkrok - Colton Sissons - Miikka Salomaki

Cody McLeod - Nick Bonino - Austin Watson

Roman Josi - Mattias Ekholm

Alexei Emelin - P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin - Anthony Bitetto

Starting Goalies

For the Preds, Avs killer Pekka Rinne will be between the pipes. Rinne will look to continue his personal 7 game winning streak against Colorado. He comes into the game with a .921 sv% this season.

For the Avalanche, Semyon Varlamov will get a chance to continue posting his resurgent numbers after a dismal (albeit shortened) 2016-17 campaign. He currently sits on a 7-3-1 record with a .910 save percentage in all situations.

How to watch

The game starts at 6 pm MST and will be on Altitude as well as Fox Sports-Tennessee.

You can also listen to the game with our friend Marc Moser on Altitude Sports Radio 950AM.