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Rinne stops 32 shots, Erat and Ellis each have 2 points as Predators beat Avs @NHLdotcom

DENVER - Pekka Rinne had 32 saves, Martin Erat and Ryan Ellis had a goal and an assist each and the Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Nick Paling and Patric Hornqvist also scored for the Predators, who have won two straight and five of their last six.

Ryan O'Reilly scored for Colorado and Semyon Varlamov settled down after a shaky start to finish with 20 saves. The Avalanche have lost two straight after winning 11 of 13.

Nashville has won six straight against the Avalanche dating back to the 2009-10 season. Rinne was in net for all four of the Predators' wins over Colorado last year, giving up an average of two goals a game.

He took a shutout late into the second period in this game before Colorado spoiled it. By then his teammates had given him a cushion to work with.

Spaling got Nashville on the board first with his sixth goal of the season just 4:31 into the game. He skated through the Avalanche defence and knocked in a pass by Jordin Tootoo from behind the net.

Ellis made it 2-0 a little over three minutes later when he scored 24 seconds into T.J. Galiardi's tripping minor. Erat finished the rally with his ninth goal of the season at the 15:05 mark of the first.

Colorado had only six shots in the first period but ratcheted up the pressure in the second. The Avalanche had 18 shots in the second and finally broke through on the power play when O'Reilly stuck his blade out and tipped a centring pass from Paul Stastny over Rinne's right shoulder with 36 seconds left in the period. It was O'Reilly's 11th goal of the season.

Colorado kept up the pressure in the third period, but Nashville got the only goal.

The Predators didn't get their first shot on goal in the third until there was 8:58 left and had only seven in the period, but Hornqvist made one of them count when he scored with 4:26 left. It was his 12th goal of the season.

NOTES: The teams will play the second game of a home-and-home Thursday in Nashville. ... Colorado's last win against Nashville was Jan. 22, 2010. ... The Avalanche were without defencemen Erik Johnson (hand) and Shane O'Brien (knee), who were injured in Saturday's loss at St. Louis. Johnson is day to day and O'Brien is out indefinitely. ... Nashville has nine first-period goals in its last five games.

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