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game recap

MacKinnon scores twice, Avalanche end 11-game losing streak to Predators

Varlamov makes 36 saves for Colorado, which has point in eight straight

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals, and the Colorado Avalanche ended an 11-game losing streak against the Nashville Predators with a 3-2 win at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

The Avalanche hadn't won against the Predators since March 28, 2016.

"We haven't won here much in my career," MacKinnon said. "We always seem to struggle against these guys for whatever reason. They're a really good team. I think we're not the only team that has a tough time winning in this building. But I thought from the drop of the puck we were really good tonight. We outplayed them there for most of the game, and it felt good to get the win."

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Predators highlights]

 

Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves for Colorado (14-6-4), which has won five straight and is 7-0-1 in its past eight games. Mikko Rantanen had two assists to become the first player with 40 points in the NHL this season.

"It's big because we've had our struggles with Nashville, and if we want to try and climb the standings, then there's a couple of these teams that we've had trouble with that we need to beat," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "Nashville is one of them. We did a nice job against them in the [2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs] getting some wins in here. I really liked our game tonight."

Video: COL@NSH: MacKinnon beats Rinne on blocker side

Ryan Hartman and Kevin Fiala scored, and Pekka Rinne made 22 saves for Nashville (17-7-1), which has lost two of its past three games.

Tyson Jost gave the Avalanche a 3-2 lead at 5:07 of the third period. He received a pass from J.T. Compher in the high slot and beat Rinne glove side on the power play.

"I think it's fun when the team is winning and you're putting up points like that," Jost said. "It's fun when you're climbing the standings. That's all I'm really concerned about."

Hartman gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 11:07 of the first period. He attempted a pass from the left point that went off Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard's skate past Varlamov.

MacKinnon tied it 1-1 at 13:10 on the power play when his intended pass for Gabriel Landeskog went under Rinne's left pad and into the net.

Video: COL@NSH: MacKinnon snaps PPG past Rinne

Gabriel Bourque appeared to give Colorado a 2-1 lead at 2:29 of the second period, but the goal was waved off because he played the puck with a high stick.

MacKinnon scored to make it 2-1 at 6:22 of the second on a wrist shot from the right circle. He received a pass from Rantanen, skated across the slot, and beat Rinne blocker side from a sharp angle.

Rantanen has had an assist on each of MacKinnon's 17 goals this season.

"[Rantanen] makes really good plays," MacKinnon said. "He's such a good passer. He finds me in a lot of quiet areas. On my second one, he knew I was going to cut to the middle. I was just waiting for him to see me. He's going to find me if I'm open, so it's a lot of fun."

Fiala tied it 2-2 at 9:06, redirecting a pass from Filip Forsberg past Varlamov's glove in the slot.

"Both teams had chances," Fiala said. "We had great chances in the last period, especially, I thought. It's one of those games."

Video: COL@NSH: Fiala tips home Forsberg's pass

 

They said it

"We just kept sticking with it. Special teams were great tonight. [Avalanche assistants Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt] had those guys dialed in. Both were perfect on the night, and it ends up being the difference in the hockey game." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

 

"You prepare yourself. You look at their players, they have a lot of talent. Right now, their top line has been from the beginning of the season the top line in the NHL. You've got to prepare for those guys. They make things happen out of nowhere. Like tonight, MacKinnon was good. At the same time, for example, the first goal I wish I could have back." -- Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne on the Avalanche's top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen

 

Need to know

MacKinnon has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past five games. … Rantanen has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his past five games. … Varlamov is 5-0-0 with a .928 save percentage in his past five starts. … Predators defenseman Roman Josi led all players with eight shots on goal and 12 shot attempts.

 

What's next

Avalanche: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, ATTSN-PT)

Predators: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TVAS, FS-TN, FS-A, NHL.TV)

Video: MacKinnon finds twine twice in fifth straight win

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