Skip to main content

Rinne, Predators stay hot at home, defeat Avalanche

by Robby Stanley

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators continued their dominance at home with a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

Nashville (41-13-7) improved to an NHL-best 26-3-1 at home this season and has won 15 of the past 16 games here. They have won six games in a row at home since a 5-2 loss on Feb. 5 to the Anaheim Ducks.

"I think we were hanging onto the puck, but with that I think we were moving our feet when we got it," Predators forward Craig Smith said. "There was no hesitation. Guys were sharp from the get-go, making plays, hitting the tape. You could tell getting up the ice was no problem tonight."

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne improved to 6-1-1 in his past eight games and got his League-leading 35th win of the season.

The Avalanche (26-24-11) had won two games in a row.

Colorado took a 1-0 lead at 3:57 of the first period on a shot by Nathan MacKinnon that went off of Nashville defenseman Roman Josi's skate and past Rinne. The goal was MacKinnon's 13th of the season and his fourth in the past two games.

"I thought the first period was OK," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I thought we didn't have as many shots as we'd like, but I thought we had a decent first period. You have to give them credit. This is a good team, well-balanced. They have the best home record for a reason. I love their intensity. They were quick on pucks, put a lot of pressure on our defense."

Nashville forward Calle Jarnkrok tied the game 15 seconds later when he converted on a breakaway past Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Jarnkrok made a backhand-to-forehand move and placed the puck past Varlamov for his sixth goal of the season.

Jarnkrok was a healthy scratch in a 2-1 shootout win against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday and responded with a strong game.

"He had a ton of energy," Predators captain Shea Weber said. "I thought he was flying right from the get-go. He had some great chances. Obviously that goal, after they got the lucky one early and he responds like that, gets the momentum right back [and] was huge for us. I think that he just fed off that and played a really good game."

Smith gave Nashville a 2-1 lead at 4:32 of the second period on a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. Smith took a shot that cleanly beat Varlamov for his 19th goal and fifth in the past six games.

Josi gave the Predators a 3-1 lead at 11:06 of the second period on a wrist shot from the point. Josi's shot found its way through traffic and past Varlamov, who never saw the puck. The goal was Josi's 11th of the season.

"I guess [Nashville forward Mike Fisher] skated in front of me kind of, and I just tried to get it to the net," Josi said. "He didn't see it, otherwise would’ve probably saved that one."

Filip Forsberg gave Nashville a 4-1 lead 54 seconds into the third period on a turnaround slap shot off of an offensive zone faceoff win by Mike Ribeiro. Forsberg kicked the puck on his stick and beat Varlamov on the stick side for his 21st goal.

Eric Nystrom made it 5-1 with a shorthanded goal at 8:28 of the third period when he cleared the puck down the ice into an empty net. Colorado pulled goaltender Reto Berra, who came in the game to relieve Varlamov, and Nystrom cleared the puck into the net for his seventh goal of the season.

"We’ve had some ups and downs," Weber said. "I think tonight was a good effort, especially against a team that we knew was going to come at us with their best because they're kind of on their last leg here trying to make the playoffs, so we knew we were going to get their best. I think we responded and did a really good job."

Avalanche forward John Mitchell made it 5-2 with 1:19 remaining in the third period on a one-timer from the slot on the power play. Mitchell's shot trickled through Rinne's pads for his seventh goal.

Weber spent 17 minutes in the penalty box after jumping to Josi's defense when he was hit by Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog in the corner.

"That was awesome," Josi said. "Shea is our leader. He leads off the ice, he leads on the ice in every aspect. You couldn't ask for a better captain than him. As a partner, it's awesome to know he always has your back. That was a great response from him."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.