Predators 4, Avalanche 2

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 08, 2012
Sergei Kostitsyn scored at 19:28 of the second period, and the Nashville Predators held off the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 Thursday night. The Predators, coming off their first home loss in regulation since Jan. 5, improved to 18-3-2 in their last 23 home games. Pekka Rinne stopped 15 shots in his NHL-best 37th win. Mike Fisher and Brandon Yip each scored a goal as Nashville won its sixth straight at home over Colorado. Martin Erat added an empty-netter. Paul Stastny and Jamie McGinn each had a goal and an assist for Colorado. The Avalanche snapped a two-game winning streak after matching a season-high with seven goals in a 7-1 win Tuesday against Minnesota. Semyon Varlamov had posted shutout wins in his last two road games. The Avalanche scored first on McGinn's wrister just 74 seconds into the game. Nashville tied it up when Fisher scored at 2:54 with his 20th goal, ending Varlamov's road shutout streak. Roman Josi then had a slap shot through traffic that Yip redirected past Varlamov at 6:58. The period ended on a painful note when Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson went face first into the boards. He lay on the ice for a couple minutes before slowly getting up, and teammates had to help him off the ice and to the locker room. Johnson returned late in the second and finished the game. Nashville peppered Varlamov in the second and missed plenty of scoring chances. Colorado had its best chance when Mike Connolly had a shot at the open net on a rebound off Rinne only to see Ryan Suter swipe the puck away. Rinne also stopped former teammate, defenseman Shane O'Brien, from right in front late in the period. Kostitsyn gave Nashville what wound up as the game-winning goal when he came on the ice during a changeover, and Matt Halischuk passed him the puck. Kostitsyn scored on a wrister. Stastny pulled Colorado within a goal with his own wrister from the slot at 4:58 of the third. Colorado, coming off a 7-1 win against Minnesota, nearly tied it, but Cody McLeod's shot went off the crossbar and bounced back off Rinne, who smothered the puck at 10:48. The Avalanche pulled Varlamov late, then Erat sealed the win with the empty-netter at 19:16. NOTES: The Predators had their 19th sellout this season and will tie the franchise record Saturday night with a game against Detroit already sold out. ... Sergei Kostitsyn now has 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in his last 29 games. ... Nashville did not allow a power-play goal for a third straight game and improved to 14-9-3 all-time against Colorado on home ice. The Avalanche last won in Nashville 2-1 on Jan. 6, 2009.
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