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game recap

Predators defeat Avalanche to extend streak

Score four goals in third period, 12th game in row with point

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- The Nashville Predators scored four times in the third period to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 at Pepsi Center on Saturday, their 12th consecutive game without a regulation loss. 

The Predators (33-21-12) are 8-0-4 since a 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Feb. 9. 

"You sum it up in the third period when you're going out there, you just have to win a period," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "Don't think about the scoreboard or if you're behind. If you can just win the period you can win the game, you'll get to overtime and get a point. Sometimes those (afternoon) games are hard to get into, but I thought our guys were sharp right from the start."

The Predators, who scored each of their first three goals after an Avalanche turnover, hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They are six points in front of the Minnesota Wild; each has 16 games left.

Video: NSH@COL: Fisher gives Predators the lead in the 3rd

James Neal and Mike Fisher gave the Predators a 3-2 lead before Shea Weber scored into an empty net with 1:38 to play and Miikka Salomaki followed with 54.3 seconds remaining. 

"We thought we were playing a good game all-around," Weber said. "We generated some chances, their goaltender (Calvin Pickard) was playing well, and they got some timely goals. We were talking about sticking with it and eventually it was going to come. 

"You saw a lot of hits and a couple of fights. Both teams wanted to win. At this time of the season, that's probably as close to a playoff game as you're going to get."

Video: NSH@COL: Neal grabs rebound, jams in goal to tie game

Fisher broke a 2-2 tie at 10:16 with his ninth goal of the season after Pickard made a save with his glove but wasn't able to hold the puck. It dropped into the slot, where Avalanche defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk tried to sweep it away but put it on Fisher's stick. 

"From my angle, it was a tough catch to make, but I would have liked to catch it," Pickard said. "Then it dropped and all of a sudden it was on the guy's stick and he made a good shot. A tough bounce, for sure." 

The Predators tied the game for the second time on Neal's goal at 1:02 of the third period that made it 2-2. The play started when Ryan Johansen intercepted Nathan MacKinnon's pass in the Nashville end and skated into the Colorado zone 1-on-1 with defenseman Francois Beauchemin. The puck came loose and Neal swooped in and shot it by Pickard for his 23rd goal. 

Video: NSH@COL: Forsberg buries loose puck to tie the game

The line of Neal, Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok combined for a goal, two assists and nine shots. 

"The three of us want to produce offensively, but I think it's important that the three of us don't get away from our game defensively," Johansen said. "We've been pretty solid there, but it was definitely nice contributing tonight and hopefully we can use that now and get a spark from it." 

The Avalanche (33-30-4) have lost three of their past four games and are two points behind the Wild with 15 games to play. They've lost five games in regulation after starting the third period with a lead. 

"It's a tough loss, let's not kid ourselves," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We need to remain even-keel and make sure that we remain focused for the next game. I've seen many funny things happen in a season. We need to win the next two games at home. They're going to be important games for us."

Video: NSH@COL: Landeskog scores to give Avalanche the lead

Gabriel Landeskog scored with 45.8 seconds remaining in the second period to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead. MacKinnon carried the puck into the Predators end and passed to Landeskog for a one-timer that went over goalie Pekka Rinne's left pad for his 16th goal. Rinne made 34 saves; Pickard made 35. 

"You have to be able to win those games this time of year," Landeskog said. "We can't afford to make mistakes, and letting them back in the game. We got a big one at the end of the second and had momentum going into the third. We had a couple power plays that we need to capitalize on."

The Predators tied the game 1-1 at 15:30 of the second period on a goal by Filip Forsberg. Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden was behind the net when he passed right to Nashville forward Mike Ribeiro, who fed Craig Smith in front. The puck bounced to Forsberg, who put it by Pickard for his 28th goal. Forsberg has seven goals and three assists in the past six games. 

Blake Comeau gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 7:27 of the first period, converting Carl Soderberg's pass for his first goal in nine games and 10th this season.

Video: Predators score four goals in the 3rd in comeback win

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