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Predators 4, Avalanche 3, OT @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators thrive in tight games, even when they create the problems themselves.

Steve Sullivan scored on a breakaway 2:09 into overtime, and Nashville beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 Thursday night to snap a three-game skid.

The Predators are tied for the league's best record in one-goal games, improving to 20-10 after tying the Avalanche twice in the third period to force overtime.

``We had to fight through a lot of adversities - penalties,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ``Our goaltender played outstanding for us again. More than anything, we came back three times.''

Scott Walker scored two goals, the second tying the game with 2:39 left in regulation. Mike Sillinger also scored his first goal since being traded to Nashville from St. Louis on Sunday, and the Predators took the season series 3-1 from Colorado.

The Predators didn't make it easy on themselves, whistled for six penalties in the first period. But goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped 16 of 17 shots in the first, and the Avalanche led only 1-0. Vokoun finished with 43 stops on a season-high 46 shots.

``We basically had the knife to our throat, but our guys came through on the power play,'' Vokoun said.

Joe Sakic, Cody McCormick and Brett Clark scored for Colorado, which finished 0-for-8 on the power play. The Avalanche have lost three of four, including two in shootouts.

Colorado forward Milan Hejduk, who had an assist, hurt his neck in a collision early in the game and did not return. He'll be evaluated Friday.

``It's always tough to lose, and certainly the way it went down there,'' Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. ``We had so many power plays throughout the game, and you know they're going to get their turn.''

Sullivan, Nashville's leading goal scorer, tied the Predators' mark for goals in a season with his 26th, and he did it in style. He picked up a loose puck near the Nashville blue line, skated in on David Aebischer and beat the goalie by going over his glove.

``We weren't very good the last couple of games, but we had a lot of character tonight and you can't question the heart and desire tonight. We made a couple of mistakes defensively, but there was no lack of effort,'' Sullivan said.

Aebischer, who shut out the Predators 3-0 in the teams' last meeting in January, said it was frustrating to lose two points. He had expected Sullivan to go over his glove, then thought late that he might go high to his right.

``He shot it right over my glove. If somebody's going to have a breakaway, it's probably him. He's a really good player and has a lot of speed so he gets a lot of breakaways,'' Aebischer said.

The Predators came out very sluggish after a 2-1 loss at Dallas on Wednesday night.

But Vokoun didn't allow another goal after Sakic poked the puck across the line from behind the goalie's back in the crease for a 3-2 lead at 11:11 of the third.

Colorado had its best opportunities in the first with six power-play chances, including a brief 5-on-3. The Avalanche outshot Nashville 17-6 but led only 1-0 after Clark scored his sixth this season at 4:38 from the left circle on a one-timer off a rebound.

The crowd of 12,057 wasn't happy with the early rash of penalties and let the officials know it by booing them when they skated onto the ice for both the second and third periods. Nashville got the final three power plays, the last coming with 4:32 left in the third and Colorado leading 3-2.

With 7 seconds left in the power play, Walker tied the game when he scored his fifth this season from in front of the net off assists from Yanic Perreault and Paul Kariya.

Notes: Colorado defenseman Ossi Vaananen hurt his ankle in the opening minutes when he was checked into the end boards by Nashville forward Darcy Hordichuk. ... Kariya has 17 points in his last 15 games, and Perreault extended his points streak to 13 games. ... Walker went down seconds after Vaananen after taking a stick to the mouth, but he returned later in the first period. ... Left wing Jeremy Stevenson played his 100th game for the Predators.

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