Predators-Avalanche Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 04, 2013
While new coach Patrick Roy will try to show a cooler temperament, the Colorado Avalanche will seek to build on a lopsided win in their season opener. With captain Gabriel Landeskog's status questionable, the Avalanche will also attempt to match their best start since relocating to Colorado after a visit from the Nashville Predators on Friday night. Colorado was in the midst wrapping up a 6-1 win over Anaheim on Wednesday when No. 1 overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon was involved in a knee-to-knee hit with Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy. That angered Roy, who showed his displeasure by nearly knocking the barrier between the benches into Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau during a heated postgame argument. Roy, a once fiery goaltender, was fined $10,000 by the NHL on Thursday. "I guess I have to change a few things. I got the $10,000 fine by the league for that," Roy said. "I understand it now. At the same time, I will always defend my players." The Avalanche (1-0-0) will try to move on while improving to 2-0-0 for only the third time in their 18 seasons in Denver. Colorado won its first two games in 2009-10 and 2001-02. The franchise prevailed in its first five contests in its final season in Quebec, 1994-95, and started a team-best 7-0-0 in 1985-86. The Avalanche will try to take another step toward matching those starts with a third consecutive home win against the Predators. It's unknown if Landeskog will be available for that attempt. The winger sat out Thursday's practice because of an ailing leg. "We have to bring the same intensity (as in the Anaheim game), same game plan and we've got to stick together," said forward Jamie McGinn, who scored two goals. The first of Colorado's two victories over Nashville at the Pepsi Center last season snapped a nine-game skid in the series. The Avalanche took two of three meetings between the teams. MacKinnon might help Colorado earn another win against its new Central Division rivals. The 18-year-old center had two assists in his NHL debut and became the youngest player with a multipoint performance since 1944. In this game, MacKinnon likely will face his friend and No. 4 overall pick, Nashville defenseman Seth Jones. The son of former NBA player Popeye Jones made his debut on his 19th birthday Thursday but couldn't lead the Predators to a win. Nashville (0-1-0) couldn't recover from an early three-goal deficit in a 4-2 defeat in St. Louis. Pekka Rinne was replaced by Carter Hutton after giving up the third goal with 10:15 remaining in the opening period. "Obviously, I'm not happy with the result, not happy with the effort," said Rinne, who faced six shots. That early exit could earn Rinne another start. A 9-0-1 record and a 1.68 goals-against average in his last 12 games against Colorado could help his cause. Rinne, though, has struggled to stop Matt Duchene in some of those recent matchups. The Avalanche center has seven goals and four assists in his last 10 contests against Nashville. Predators captain Shea Weber has six goals and 11 assists in his past 20 matchups versus Colorado.
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