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Open Thread: Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators (6:00 p.m.)

It’s a Colorado Avalanche gameday!

NHL: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a successful homestand that got them back into the Western Conference chase, the Colorado Avalanche begin a quick two-game road trip against the Nashville Predators tonight. Last Saturday night in Denver, Colorado won 3-1, and they will look to win the season series against the Preds tonight in Nashville.

The Avs have begun to turn around a season defined by injuries, as they have won five out of their last six and sit just six points out of first place in the Central Division with three games in hand.

Key forwards like Valeri Nichushkin and Evan Rodrigues have returned to bolster Colorado’s top six, and the team has simplified its play to a more responsible defensive style and it is yielding results. Mikko Rantanen is one of the best players in the league right now, Alexandar Georgiev is playing the best hockey of his short Avalanche career, and the Avs seemed to have turned a corner.

They’re still not back to the dominant high-flying squad we know and love, but this team is capable of beating anyone on any given night with how well they’re playing defensively right now, as Nashville learned last Saturday night when they were only able to score one goal on 26 shots.

Projected Lineup

Artturi Lehkonen (62) - J.T. Compher (37) - Mikko Rantanen (96)

Alex Newhook (18) - Evan Rodrigues (9) - Valeri Nichushkin (13)

Denis Malgin (81) - Ben Meyers (59) - Logan O’Connor (25)

Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Martin Kaut (61) - Jacob MacDonald (26)

Cale Makar (8) - Devon Toews (7)

Sam Girard (49) - Erik Johnson (6)

Andreas Englund (88) - Brad Hunt (17)

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