Preds seek to tighten up defense in battle with Avs

After allowing six or more goals for the third time in eight games, the Nashville Predators will try to get back in the win column when they visit the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

The Predators had a three-game winning streak halted with Thursday's 7-4 home setback against the Phoenix Coyotes. The wild contest saw Phoenix grab a 6-3 lead after the first period before things settled down.

Nashville allowed seven goals total during its recent three-game winning streak before surrendering the same amount in one game against the Coyotes. The Predators also yielded seven and six goals against Vancouver and Calgary on March 14 and 15, respectively.

Shea Weber, David Legwand, Rich Clune and Gabriel Bourque scored for the Predators, who are two points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"Obviously we have to crack down on the mistakes and realize what we did wrong," said Weber. "We got to win games if we want to stay in this race."

Pekka Rinne allowed four goals on 20 shots before he was pulled for Chris Mason. Mason didn't fare much better, however, allowing three goals on nine shots.

The Preds, who are just 5-11-2 on the road this season, could be without Mike Fisher on Saturday after the veteran forward injured his hand in Thursday's loss. Fisher was hurt blocking a shot, but did not break any bones and is questionable for Saturday.

Nashville could get Paul Gaustad back for the first time since March 12. The centerman has sat out the last eight games with an upper body issue, but was activated off injured reserve on Friday.

The Avalanche, who are last in the Western Conference and 10 points out of a playoff spot, have lost four straight and eight of their last nine games, but Colorado did beat the Preds in the only meeting between the clubs this season.

Colorado recorded a 6-5 regulation win against a visiting Predators club on Feb. 18, snapping a nine-game losing streak in the series. Nashville had also won four straight in Denver before last month's setback.

The Avs suffered a fourth straight regulation loss on Thursday, dropping a 4-1 decision in Vancouver. Daniel Sedin scored the winner in the third period to lead the Canucks and Colorado fell to 2-12-3 on the road this season.

Matt Duchene had the lone goal for the Avalanche, while Semyon Varlamov gave up two goals on 18 shots.

"They got some timely goals and we got some unlucky bounces," said Duchene.

Colorado has done most of its damage this season on home ice, going 9-6-1 in the Mile High City.