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Avalanche-Predators Preview

The Nashville Predators have bounced back from tough losses before. The problem is they haven't been able to build on satisfying victories lately.

Nashville looks to win back-to-back games for the first time in nearly a month Saturday night when it hosts the Colorado Avalanche, who could be without Gabriel Landeskog for a second straight contest.

The Predators (15-9-5) played at Chicago on Tuesday and couldn't solve Corey Crawford, falling 4-1 despite a 37-24 advantage in shots. They didn't have much trouble with Scott Darling on Thursday, though, scoring three first-period goals en route to a 5-1 win.

"No one felt good about (Tuesday)," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think that showed by the way we took the ice. That is first and foremost."

James Neal scored twice, and Filip Forsberg, Eric Nystrom and Craig Smith also had goals as Nashville played without forward Colin Wilson, who sat out a second straight game with a lower-body injury.

"We needed those two points," defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "I thought we played a great hockey game."

Things haven't gone as well following wins, though. Nashville has gone 4-6-2 since last winning consecutive games Nov. 14 and 17. Five of the defeats in that stretch have been by at least three goals.

Pekka Rinne's 2.40 goals-against average isn't as impressive has his 2.18 mark in 64 games last season. He has a 2.91 GAA in nine starts since the Predators' last consecutive wins, allowing at least three goals six times.

Rinne has a 2.14 GAA in 20 career starts against Colorado (12-16-1), which struggled without a member of its top line Wednesday.

Landeskog participated in the morning skate, then notified coach Patrick Roy he was experiencing back spasms. When he returned for the game that night, he said he didn't feel well enough to play and was a late scratch.

Mikhail Grigorenko took his spot on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene in a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh, but he was demoted from that trio because Roy was disappointed with his play.

Landeskog will travel to Nashville and be a game-time decision. Roy said Grigorenko, who originally was scheduled to be a healthy scratch against the Penguins, will get another shot if Landeskog can't go.

"He needs to win his battles, and he lost a lot of battles," Roy said of Grigorenko. "If Grigo wants to play on that top line, he needs to be more consistent in his battles and do a better job. A young player needs to learn."

Duchene stayed hot, scoring for the 14th time in 18 games after having one goal through his first 11. The Avalanche, though, failed to convert on a 35-second 5-on-3 advantage in the third period.

"We had some really good chances, but that's how it is," forward Andreas Martinsen said. "I think we were still battling the whole way, we just couldn't get the two points."

Semyon Varlamov will be in net in for this contest after getting the night off against the Penguins. He's saved 84 of 88 shots while winning two of his last three starts.

Varlamov also has won two of his last three starts against the Predators while posting a 2.22 GAA. He made 38 saves in a 3-2 victory in the last meeting April 7.

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