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McLeod scores twice to lead Avalanche to 5-1 win over Predators

NHL.com @NHL

DENVER - Cody McLeod had the first two-goal game of his career and John-Michael Liles added a goal and an assist in the Colorado Avalanche's 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Monday night.

McLeod, who had only nine goals in 84 NHL games coming in, scored his goals less than three minutes apart in the first period. Chris Stewart and David Jones also had goals for Colorado, winners of three straight.

Goaltender Peter Budaj stopped 25 shots. Budaj shut the Predators out 1-0 on Nov. 8.

Jason Arnott scored his 14th goal of the year for Nashville which lost for the second time in two nights.

Pekka Rinne stopped 16 shots in defeat.

McLeod quickly gave the Avalanche a 2-0 lead midway through the first. On the first goal, Marek Svatos sent the puck through the crease and McLeod tapped it past Rinne at 8:34.

Then Rinne's attempt to clear the puck was intercepted along the boards by T.J. Hensick, who sent a cross ice pass to Brett Clark for a slap shot from the left point. McLeod deflected the shot under Rinne's glove at 11:30 for a two-goal lead.

Budaj stopped two blistering shots by Shea Weber in the first period.

The tempo picked up in the second period. Stewart and Jones put the Avalanche ahead 4-0. Stewart's wrist shot from the right circle went under the stick of Rinne at 4:42. Jones took a return pass from Wolski and jammed it home at 6:17 of the period.

Darcy Tucker was sent off for four minutes for cross checking and unsportsmanlike minors and the Predators took advantage when Arnott deflected a shot off an Avalanche player's skate at 9:17.

Budaj escaped further damage by stopping Radek Bonk while sprawled on the ice late in Tucker's second penalty.

Liles extended the lead to 5-1, 48 seconds into the third period, with his fifth goal of the year.

Notes: The Predators were coming off a 5-2 loss in Edmonton on Sunday night. ... Jordin Tootoo missed a check on McLeod and tumbled into the Avalanche bench midway through the second period. ... Tootoo and Colorado's Scott Hannan scuffled briefly in front of the Avalanche crease and both drew roughing penalties in the last 20 seconds of the second period. ... Wolski and Svatos had two assists each for the Avalanche.

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