NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - When the Nashville Predators hit the ice for warm-ups coach Barry Trotz knew his team wasn't at the concentration level he wanted.
The first seven minutes proved he was right. But a power play goal by Steve Sullivan at 7:42 of the first period gave the Predators the energy they needed to take a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Colorado Avalanche.
It was the third victory in a row for the Predators at home. They start a five-game road trip Wednesday night in Chicago.
Marek Zidlicky also scored on the power play for the Predators in the first, with his goal coming at 9:02.
``I think it was important that we scored early on those power plays,'' said Trotz. ``In some of our losses we drew a lot of penalties early but we didn't score. In the first seven minutes we gave up way too many two-on-ones. It showed we weren't mentally sharp. The power play goals gave us the momentum we needed.''
Sullivan gave the Predators a 1-0 lead scoring with a two-man advantage. Standing beside the left goal post, he lifted the puck over Colorado goaltender Vitaliy Kolesnik as he was stretched out face down in the crease. Nashville took a 2-0 lead at 9:02 when Zidlicky scored on a wrist shot from just inside the top of the left circle, putting the puck over the right arm of Kolesnik.
``We got a good cushion in the first period,'' said Sullivan. ``The 5-on-3 goal was a key for us. The last couple of games we have been able to do that.''
The Avalanche closed to within 2-1 on Pierre Turgeon's goal at 16:20 while Colorado had a two-man advantage.
After a scoreless second period, the Predators extended their lead to 3-1 on Hartnell's goal at midway through the third period. He stole the puck from Colorado's Brett Clark at the blue line, skated in one-on-one and went top shelf on Kolesnik.
``I don't think it took the wind out of our sails,'' said Colorado's Milan Hejduk. ``Whether it was a one goal or a two goal lead we needed to get it done.''
With less than two minutes left to play John-Michael Liles scored to get Colorado within a goal, but the Avalanche couldn't tie it.
``We were still in the game even after being down 2-0,'' said Colorado coach Joel Quenneville. ``I would have liked to have seen us win more puck battles. This one was definitely available for us. I would have liked to see us grab at least a point.''
The game was played with only one referee. Rob Shick had his foot x-rayed prior to the start of the game and it was determined it was broken. Ian Walsh handled the referee duties.
``Walsh is a young guy,'' said Trotz. ``I think he did well for one man. The game is tough to call with one person. I thought he did a real solid job.''
Notes: Sullivan has a goal in each of his last four games. The Avalanche has scored at least one power play goal in each of the last eight games in a row, a total of 12 during that span. .The Predators have 16 victories at home, the most in the NHL.
|PPG - Steve Sullivan (15) ASST: Adam Hall (7), Kimmo Timonen (19)|
1 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Marek Zidlicky (8) ASST: Martin Erat (9), Dan Hamhuis (14)|
2 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Pierre Turgeon (9) ASST: Joe Sakic (22), Rob Blake (16)|
2 - 1 NSH
|Scott Hartnell (11) ASST: NONE|
3 - 1 NSH
|John-Michael Liles (9) ASST: Ian Laperriere (10), Alex Tanguay (25)|
3 - 2 NSH
|Patrice Brisebois Interference against Paul Kariya|
|Ian Laperriere Holding against Marek Zidlicky|
|Joe Sakic Hooking against Paul Kariya|
|Martin Erat Interference|
|Kimmo Timonen Hooking|
|Ian Laperriere Tripping|
|Mark Eaton Holding against Antti Laaksonen|
|Marek Zidlicky Hooking|
|Brad May Hooking|
|Adam Hall Hi-sticking against Ian Laperriere|