Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 1/11/12

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 21: Nick Spaling #13 of the Nashville Predators prepares to face off during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 21, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Tuesday night on the strength of three first period goals. The Predators have beaten the Avalanche six times in a row and will now try for a seventh straight win Thursday night when the two teams meet again at Bridgestone Arena.

Predators netminder Pekka Rinne made 32 saves, allowing only one goal, coming in the last minute of the second period.

Nick Spaling opened scoring at 4:31 of the opening frame. Spaling’s sixth goal of the season, the Predators have never lost in regulation when Spaling scores a goal. Spaling has 14 career goals, but Tuesday night was the first time the center scored away from Bridgestone Arena.  Jordin Tootoo and Gabriel Bourque picked up the assists.

Ryan Ellis made it 2-0 Predators when his shot beat Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov at 7:41 into the first period. Ellis’ second goal in as many games was his second power play marker. T.J. Galardi was in the box for tripping Spaling.

Nashville would add to its lead with just 4:55 left in the period when Martin Erat also beat Varlamov.

Three goals was all it would take for the Predators to win, though they Patric Hornqvist would score in the third period to give Nashville a fourth goal. The Predators are now 18-2-2 when scoring more than 2 goals.

The Avalanche got on the board with just over 30 seconds left to play in the middle frame when Colorado scored a power play goal. Francis Bouillon was in the box for hooking Ryan O’Reilly and the brother of former Predator Cal O’Reilly made Nashville pay when he scored with the man advantage at 19:24 of the second period.

Ellis picked up his fourth point in the last two games when he set up Hornqvist’s late third period goal at 15:34 of the final frame to give Nashville the 4-1 lead.

The loss was only the third in the last 12 games for the Avalanche, but the previous two losses both came on the second game of back-to-back contests.

Jerred Smithson and Jack Hillen were the scratches for the Predators Tuesday night.

The Predators now return back to Bridgestone Arena to play the red-hot Avalanche again on Thursday night. The Predators will be looking for their ninth consecutive sold out arena. The puck drops shortly after 7 pm CT.

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