Preview: Predators at Avalanche (1/10)

The Predators head to Denver's Pepsi Center to battle Western Division foe Colorado on Tuesday night.

Location: Pepsi Center (Denver, Colorado)

Game Time: 8:00 pm Central

TV: Fox Sports Tennessee

Radio: 102.5 The Game (WPRT-FM)

Records:
Nashville: 22-15-4 (48 points, 4th Central, 6th Western)
Colorado: 23-19-1 (47 points, 3rd Northwest, 10th Western)

Second Half:  Tuesday night’s game in Colorado is the 42nd game of the season for the Predators. This marks the statistical halfway point on the year. With 48 points, the Predators are on pace for a 96 point season. Last season, the Predators had 50 points at this point and finished with 99. In 2009-10, Nashville had 51 points and finished with 100. This season is only the third time since the 2004-05 lockout that Nashville has had fewer than 50 points at the halfway point. In 2008-09, the Predators had 41 points at the playoffs and finished with 88 – missing the playoffs. In 2007-08, Nashville had 43 points at the midpoint and wound up making the playoffs with 91. The Predators have not had a 50-point second half since 2006-07.

There is Another:  Colorado’s leading scorer may look a bit familiar to Predators fans. Ryan O’Reilly is former Predator Cal O’Reilly’s younger brother. The younger brother has 1o goals and 19 assists so far this season to lead the Avalanche.

Come Back, Shane: Former Predator Shane O’Brien joined the Avalanche this season and has had a breakout year of sorts, already racking up 12 assists – the third most of his career. Unfortunately for the Avalanche, the loquacious defenseman suffered a knee injury and will miss not only Tuesday night’s game, but also Colorado’s return visit to Nashville on Thursday.

Spals to the Wall: The Nashville Predators are 11-0-1 all-time when Nick Spaling tallies a goal. However, Spaling has 0 career points with a -2 against the Avalanche.

Forward Scoring Droughts: Jerred Smithson has not registered a goal in his last 37 games. Colin Wilson and Nick Spaling have not scored in their last 8.  Mike Fisher has not scored a goal in his last 7, but did pot 3 assists on Saturday night against Carolina. David Legwand and Martin Erat have not scored a goal in their last 6. Brian McGrattan has not put a puck in the net in 25 games as a Predator and last scored 57 games ago while a member of the Calgary Flames.

Goal Scorers: With Ryan Ellis picking up his first career goal on Saturday night, Francis Bouillon and Brian McGrattan are the only two remaining Predator skaters without a goal this season. As mentioned previously, McGrattan has not scored in 57 games. Patric Hornqvist actually has more goals (11) than McGrattan has shots (9). Bouillon’s goal drought stands at 63.

Quick Notes: The Predators are 6-5-0 against the Northwest Division this season, but 3-4-0 on the road…Craig Smith could be the Ultimate Road Warrior – 6 of his 9 goals on the season have come away from Bridgestone Arena…Colorado’s potential starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov was acquired in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals. That pick was acquired from Nashville in exchange for defenseman Brendan Witt…Nashville has a 22-20-6  all-time record against the Avalanche, including a 9-6-1 record in their last 16 visits to the Pepsi Center.

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.