Predators win 4-2, Avalanche lose 18th in 19 games
Saturday, March 12, 2011; 11:04 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Joel Ward's unassisted goal in the second period helped the Nashville Predators hold off Colorado 4-2 Saturday night and send the Avalanche to their eighth straight loss and 18th defeat in 19 games.
Shea Weber and Matt Halischuk also scored, and Martin Erat had an empty-net goal and an assist. Pekka Rinne stopped 36 shots for the Predators, who won their second straight. They remain ninth in the Western Conference, a point behind four teams tied at 81 points.
Ryan O'Reilly and Daniel Winnik each scored for Colorado, which was without top scorer Paul Stastny (back) and Milan Hejduk (shoulder). Both players were injured Friday in a 6-2 loss to Anaheim.
The Avalanche are 1-16-2 in their past 19.
Nashville won its fourth straight over the Avalanche, including three this season by a combined score of 14-6. The Predators jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first.
This time, they couldn't score with the man advantage on their first two chances but scored just after the power play ended. Weber scored his 15th on a wrister at 4:16, just 4 seconds after Colorado's Brandon Yip served a penalty for too many men on the ice. Halischuk scored 13 seconds after Kevin Porter's slashing penalty expired.
Halischuk scored his second off a play created by Blake Geoffrion, who stole the puck in front of Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj. He passed to Kevin Klein, who sent the puck over to Halischuk for a wrister at 11:36.
O'Reilly trimmed the lead with his eighth this season at 4:15 of the second. The Avalanche kept whacking away at the puck with Rinne stopping a couple shots before O'Reilly wristed it past Klein, who helped defend the net with Rinne out of position.
Colorado had 43 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage after Ward was penalized for tripping with Jonathon Blum already in the box for cross-checking. The Avalanche thought they scored when O'Reilly redirected the puck from the slot, but Rinne immediately raised his hands in protest at 11:53.
Officials talked briefly and waved off the goal because O'Reilly's stick was too high.
Nashville killed off the rest of Ward's penalty, and then Ward put the Predators up 3-1 at 13:31. He faked a shot from the right circle, held the puck, and skated to the net before backhanding a shot into an open net.
Colorado got a lucky bounce on Winnik's goal. His slap shot bounced off the left skate of Nashville center Colin Wilson past Rinne at 19:30 of the period.
Notes: Weber's 79th NHL goal tied him with Kimmo Timonen for the most in franchise history by a defenseman. ... Ward matched his career high with a goal in three straight games. ... The Predators improved to 24-4-7 when scoring first and 19-4-6 when leading after the first period. ... Erat, who assisted on Weber's goal, has assists in five straight games to match his career high. ... Colorado defenseman John-Michael Liles (leg) missed a second straight game. ... The Avalanche are 0-29-4 when scoring two goals or less.