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game recap

Ryan Johansen, Austin Watson lift Predators to win

Each get goal, assist; Pekka Rinne makes 37 saves against Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Ryan Johansen and Austin Watson each had a goal and an assist, and Pekka Rinne made 37 saves to lift the Nashville Predators to a 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

The Predators (11-8-3) went 1-1-0 on a two-game road trip and are 9-3-2 in November.

"It's a really good win," said Rinne, who has won four in a row. "It wasn't an easy game. We got really timely goals. It was a big game for Colorado. They weren't going away. They had a strong night, they had some opportunities.

"We all feel good, we all feel we've come together as a team. It's a good feeling in the locker room right now. There's been a few injuries, but we've had guys step in and that's a good sign. We'll need that all season."


WATCH: All Predators vs. Avalanche highlights


The Avalanche (9-11-1) are 0-2-1 in the first three games of a five-game homestand and 4-6-1 at Pepsi Center. 

"Too many passengers," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "There's a lack of focus or a lack of intensity, we're giving teams easy goals. I didn't feel they had to work for their goals tonight."

The Predators scored early goals in the second and third periods.

Video: NSH@COL: Johansen balances on one skate and scores

They went ahead 5-2 when Johansen and Watson scored 2:08 apart early in the third. Johansen skated around Colorado defenseman Patrick Wiercioch and shot the puck over goalie Calvin Pickard's left pad 34 seconds in for his fifth goal. Watson deflected in Roman Josi's shot at 2:42 for his first of the season.

"That felt good," Johansen said. "We knew we had to come out flying in the third and we had a couple of big goals at the start, which is obviously huge. Happy about that."

Video: NSH@COL: Watson scores with tip through his legs

Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala scored 2:57 apart early in the second period to give the Predators a 3-1 lead. 

Arvidsson scored his seventh goal seven seconds into the period after Johansen won the opening faceoff from Nathan MacKinnon. Fiala was just outside the crease when he knocked a loose puck behind Pickard at 3:04 for his third goal. 

The Avalanche closed to 3-2 at 16:25 when Rene Bourque deflected Nikita Zadorov's point shot past Rinne for his eighth goal.

Video: NSH@COL: Bourque deflects in Zadorov's slap shot

"You can't give up quick goals like that," Bourque said. "It's been the same story all year. It's why we're two games below .500."

The Predators took a 1-0 lead on Mike Fisher's fifth goal at 14:52 of the first period. He scored from the left circle off a pass from Watson. The Avalanche tied it 1-1 when Mikko Rantanen tapped in the rebound of Bourque's deflection for his third goal at 15:58.

Goal of the game

Arvidsson skated between Avalanche defensemen Erik Johnson and Fedor Tyutin after taking a stretch pass from P.K. Subban. He beat Pickard to the glove side for a 2-1 Predators lead.

Video: NSH@COL: Arvidsson breaks in and buries one top shelf

Save of the game

Pickard stopped Arvidsson's point-blank shot from the slot at 9:00 of the first period after the Nashville forward took a pass from Filip Forsberg.


Highlight of the game

Colorado's Matt Duchene won a draw in the left circle and got the puck back to defenseman Tyson Barrie, who spun inside the blue line, moved down left wing and backhanded a pass to Mikhail Grigorenko, who scored at 4:01 of the third period.

Video: NSH@COL: Barrie spins, sets up Grigorenko's nice goal

Unsung moment of the game

Rinne made three saves during an Avalanche power play that began at 13:12 of the second period. The Predators killed it off and are 40-of-41 in November.


They said it

"Everyone's got to look at themselves in the mirror and realize we have to be better (as) an individual. It's not one guy, it's not two guys, it's a lot of guys. It's different guys each night. Very rarely have we had [everyone] pulling in the same direction for a full 60 [minutes]. When we do that, we are a good team, but it's not good enough." -- Avalanche forward Matt Duchene


"He was great, he was physical, he was good defensively, his line played really well. He had a big game. Whether it's offensively or defensively he's been out there just trying to make a difference." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on forward Austin Watson, who had two points and four blocked shots

Need to know

Fisher's goal was his 96th with the Predators, tying him with Scott Walker for seventh in franchise history. ... The Predators have won three in a row against the Avalanche at Pepsi Center by a combined 15-6. Two of their three road wins this season have come in Colorado. ... Johansen has three goals and six assists in his past six games against the Avalanche. ... Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog (lower-body injury) has missed six consecutive games.   

What's next

Predators: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; FS-TN, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-O, NHL.TV)


Video: Preds strike quickly in 5-3 win against the Avalanche

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