Rinne, Preds roll past Avs

Nashville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) – Craig Smith scored the go-ahead goal and
Pekka Rinne made 18 saves as the Nashville Predators cooled off the Colorado
Avalanche with a 5-2 win on Tuesday.

Calle Jarnkrok, Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Eric Nystrom all lit the lamp
for the Predators, who are 8-1-1 over their last 10 games.

“I think it’s been the strongest game that I can recall,” Nashville head coach
Peter Laviolette said. “We seemed to have good jump.”

Nathan MacKinnon followed up his first career hat trick with a goal and John
Mitchell scored on the power play for Colorado, which entered the game with
wins in four of its last five.

Semyon Varlamov allowed four goals on 29 shots in his 17th consecutive start
and Reto Berra made 11 stops in relief.

“They put a lot of pressure on our defense,” Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy
said. “They were the best team on the ice tonight.”

The Predators went ahead with two goals in the second period.

Smith’s slap shot from just above the right circle gave Nashville the lead
at 4:32 and Josi’s shot from the point made it a 3-1 game with 8:54 left in
the frame.

Forsberg provoked a goaltending change after he increased the Predators’
advantage to 4-1 with a quick wrister from the left circle off a faceoff just
54 seconds into the third.

Berra was pulled in favor of an extra attacker while on the power play with
over 12 minutes to play, but Eric Nystrom’s clear landed into the empty net
for a short-handed goal and a 5-1 lead.

Mitchell’s power-play goal with 1:19 remaining accounted for the final score.

MacKinnon continued his hot play by opening the scoring 3:57 into the game
after his slap shot deflected off the skate of a Nashville defender and past

The lead was short-lived as Jarnkrok raced in on a breakaway and roofed a shot
over Varlamov just 15 seconds later.

Game Notes

The Predators improved their record to 41-13-7 for 89 points, surpassing last
season’s total of 88 … Nashville has won 15 of its last 16 home games …
The Predators have won three of the four meetings between the two teams this
season … The season series will conclude in Colorado on April 7.