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Avalanche Vs. Predators: Colorado Heads To Nashville Without Matt Duchene

The Colorado Avalanche resuscitated their playoff dreams with back-to-back dominating performances of the struggling Minnesota Wild, and have now won five of their past seven games. Now, the challenge is to continue that momentum for the final stretch of the season; eight of their last 14 games are on the road.

First, Colorado must take on the Nashville Predators. The Predators are solidly in the playoff discussion and, with a dominant goaltender in Pekka Rinne and the league's most fearsome blue line manned by Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, could be mentioned as a dark horse Stanley cup Contender. They certainly have had their way with Colorado lately, winning the past six contests by a 24-11 margin. In fact, the Avalanche have not defeated the Predators since January 22, 2010. If Colorado wants to keep pace with the streaking Dallas Stars, they need to find a way to finally beat the team from Tennessee.

This task becomes more difficult with another injury to forward Matt Duchene, continuing his extremely difficult season. Duchene has been bounced from center to wing, he has missed six weeks with a knee injury, and now will likely miss the remainder of the regular season with an ankle injury.

Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net for Colorado. The Russian netminder is finally starting to show the potential that the Avalanche front office traded for last offseason, displaying a sparkling .950 SV% and two shutouts in his last eight starts.

Puck drops at 6:00 p.m. MDT.

For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey and our Predators blog On The Forecheck.