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game recap

Cody McLeod helps Predators defeat Avalanche

Forward scores for Nashville day after trade from Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Cody McLeod scored in his first game with the Nashville Predators, who added two third-period goals to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

"It's been a whirlwind, the last few hours, but I'm pumped to be here," said McLeod, who spent 10 seasons with the Avalanche before they traded him Friday. "I stayed home last night and met the guys here early this morning. Everybody's been great and pumped to be here and ready for the next game. I'm happy the game is over with just to get it out of the way and move forward."

The Predators (20-16-7) left Nashville on Saturday morning rather than Friday because of a mechanical problem with their charter plane. They arrived at the arena two hours before faceoff.

"Before the game we talked about not having any excuses," said Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 28 saves. "It was a long day for us, leaving in the morning after all of our plans got (messed) up yesterday."

 

WATCH: All Predators vs. Avalanche highlights

 

Trailing 2-0 after Gabriel Landeskog and Francois Beachemin scored for the Avalanche, the Predators made it 2-1 at 7:52 of the second period when McLeod beat defenseman Eric Gelinas to the front of the net to convert Harry Zolnierczyk's pass past goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Video: NSH@COL: Fisher nets pretty backhand goal on break

Nashville tied it 2-2 on a breakaway goal from Mike Fisher at 5:00 of the third period. He took a pass from Austin Watson and put in a backhand for his 12th goal.

Filip Forsberg made it 3-2 at 9:20 after Ryan Johansen won a faceoff from Nathan MacKinnon. Forsberg controlled the puck in the right circle and shot it by Varlamov's left arm for his 11th goal.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette said he thought McLeod, who fought Jarome Iginla at 2:18 of the second period, gave Nashville a spark. McLeod played a season-high 10:12, all but the opening shift on the fourth line with Derek Grant and Zolnierczyk.

"Just a hard-working guy that hits and fights and goes to the net," Laviolette said. "It's always difficult when you come to a new team and new surroundings. For him to have a big game like that, I'm happy for him. Got to be special."

Three seconds after McLeod and Iginla fought, Francois Beauchemin scored his first goal of the season to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead.

Video: NSH@COL: Rinne shuts his pads to deny Iginla

"I thought we could use a spark right then and I asked him (Iginla), and he's a tough guy," McLeod said. "No hard feelings, we both play hard. I love Iggy, we're good friends, but on the ice it's all business."

Iginla said, "I don't know if he was joking or serious, but he asked me off the draw if I'd give him one. I've heard him give that line to many other guys many times. I said, 'Sure.' I know it's not personal with him, I really enjoyed playing with him."

The Avalanche (13-27-1) are 1-11-1 in their past 13 home games.

They took a 2-1 lead into the third period after killing a major boarding penalty to Rene Bourque for a hit against Viktor Arvidsson at 14:44 of the second.

Video: NSH@COL: Forsberg slams puck home off faceoff

"The penalty kill was awesome, killed off that major to keep us in the game," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

Colorado almost tied the game with two minutes remaining after Varlamov (29 saves) left the ice for an extra skater. Matt Duchene poked the puck into the net during a scrum, but the whistle had blown.

 

Goal of the game

Landeskog moved around Ryan Ellis near the goal line before scoring at 4:07 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

Video: NSH@COL: Landeskog nets fortunate goal off Rinne

 

Save of the game

Rinne moved to his left to stop MacKinnon from the right circle at 9:20 of the third period during a power play.

Video: NSH@COL: Rinne robs MacKinnon with big shoulder save

 

Highlight of the game

McLeod scored on his only shot of the game for his second goal of the season.

Video: NSH@COL: McLeod scores vs. Avs one day after trade

 

Unsung performance of the game

The Avalanche limited the Predators to three shots on goal on four power plays. Nashville didn't have a shot on a 3:00 power play in the second period.

 

They said it

"I love Denver, I love the fans here, played here for 9 1/2 years, great memories and my family's here. The fans gave me that cheer there, it was great." -- Predators forward Cody McLeod on a video tribute in the first period

 

Video: NSH@COL: McLeod honored by Avs, scores after trade

 

"He gets a standing ovation, I think that's well-deserved. It's good to see him getting that recognition for everything he's put into this organization. He's a classy guy, great teammate, a heart-and-soul type guy." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on McLeod

 

Need to know

Forward James Neal returned to the Predators lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury. ... Nashville is 4-0-0 against Colorado this season.

 

What's next

Predators: At the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Preds score two in 3rd period for road comeback win

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