Predators-Avalanche Preview

Dominance at home is a big reason why the Nashville Predators are atop the Central Division, but they would like to be much more consistent on the road.

Another meeting with the Colorado Avalanche could be a way to start.

The Predators attempt to snap a season-high three-game road losing streak Friday night with a second victory over the Avalanche this week.

Nashville (31-10-6) owns the best home record in the NHL at 19-2-1, but that hasn’t carried over to the road where its 12-8-5. The Predators have only managed to win back-to-back games on the road three times compared to posting winning streaks of eight and seven games on home ice.

They blew a two-goal lead Thursday at St. Louis before falling 5-4 in a shootout, allowing the surging Blues to close within four points of the division lead.

Still, coach Peter Laviolette found some solace in Nashville outshooting St. Louis 15-6 in the third, as James Neal’s goal with 2:38 to play gave his club at least a point for the 13th time in 14 games (9-1-4).

"The third period our guys showed up and really I think hit the gas pedal, generated a lot of forecheck play searching for that goal," Laviolette said. "I thought we could have scored four or five goals in that period."

Scoring hasn’t been an issue against the Avalanche, with Nashville averaging 3.83 goals during a 13-3-2 run in the series.

Craig Smith’s overtime goal lifted the Predators to a 4-3 home victory Tuesday after they opened the season series with a 3-0 win in Denver on Dec. 9.

Nashville is 6-2-1 in the last nine games there, averaging 3.67 goals.

Filip Forsberg has four points in three meetings with the Avalanche, scoring a goal Tuesday before tallying again versus St. Louis. The right wing leads all rookies with 17 goals and 41 points.

Also contributing lately for Nashville is Mike Fisher, who had two goals Thursday and has five in his last six road games. He has 21 points in 26 games after starting the season on injured reserve with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

The Avalanche (20-18-11) have gone past regulation in four of their past six games, going 2-1-3. Third-period rallies have been responsible for all their points over the past four contests (1-1-2).

Colorado got another at Nashville on Tuesday after Nick Holden scored with 36 seconds left in regulation.

"I like the way we were resilient," coach Patrick Roy said. "When you’re chasing a playoff spot, you need to find any kind of ways to win, get back in the game or tie the game. We’ve been showing great urgency and our players deserve a lot of credit for the way we’ve been playing."

Semyon Varlamov deserves a fair share of it, going 5-2-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average over his past nine starts. He made 35 saves in Tuesday’s overtime loss.

Varlamov owns a 4.16 GAA in his last four meetings with Nashville, but is 6-1-0 with a 2.08 GAA in his past seven at home overall.

Jarome Iginla’s goal Tuesday gave him six in his last seven matchups with the Predators.