NHL Game Summary - Colorado at Nashville
(Tuesday, December 20th)
Final Score: Nashville 3, Colorado 2
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Steve Sullivan scored in his fifth consecutive game and Tomas Vokoun made 24 saves, as the Nashville Predators defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, at Gaylord Entertainment Center.
Marek Zidlicky and Scott Hartnell also scored for Nashville, which has won three straight games. Sullivan now has 15 goals this season.
"It is a huge win," said Vokoun. "It was very important for us to get a lead on them."
Pierre Turgeon and John-Michael Liles scored for the Avalanche, who have dropped four of their last five games. Vitaliy Kolesnik allowed three goals on 27 shots and Joe Sakic assisted on both goals in the losing effort.
All three of the first-period goals -- two of which were scored by Nashville -- came on the power play.
When Ian Laperriere was whistled for holding near the seven-minute mark and Sakic went off for hooking 39 seconds later, the Predators used the two-man advantage to grab a 1-0 lead.
After a face off, the puck came back to Kimmo Timonen, who took a wrist shot from the high slot. The save was made, but Kolesnik could not control the rebound and Sullivan punched it home from the left post.
"(Vokoun) made some big saves early and we scored on our 5-on-3," said Nashville's Paul Kariya. "You have to score on those."
Less than two minutes later, still skating with the extra man, the Nashville power play went right back to work. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis passed from the point to Martin Erat at the top of the right circle. Erat quickly fired a cross-ice feed to Zidlicky, whose slap shot beat Kolesnik at 9:02.
"Our penalty kill could have been better," said Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake.
Colorado cut its deficit in half in the latter stages of the frame when Timonen's hooking infraction saw the visitors skate 5-on-4. After Vokoun made a nice save on a blazing one-timer from the right circle, the rebound ended up on Turgeon's stick behind the net. The veteran then pulled a page out of Wayne Gretzky's book and banked the puck off the back of Vokoun and into the net with 3:40 remaining.
Following a scoreless middle session in which each team failed to score on the power play, the Preds took a 3-1 advantage midway through the third.
Colorado defenseman Brett Clark committed a turnover near his own blue line and the puck sat in the high slot, where Hartnell scooped it up and hustled in on a breakaway. A nice deke move led to a backhander that Hartnell lifted over the shoulder of Kolesnik at the 10:41 mark.
Holding the two-goal lead in the third, the Predators were in control until the Avalanche rallied for a late score.
Following a scramble in front and a flurry of shots that Vokoun kept out of the net, Liles lit the lamp from a tough angle with 1:41 to play in regulation.
However, the Predators held on the rest of the way to close out their excellent home slate in the calendar year of 2005. The next time Nashville, which finished the year 16-3 at home, plays on this ice will by January 1, 2006 against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Veteran NHL referee Rob Shick was supposed to officiate the contest, but instead watched it from the press box after he suffered a broken foot earlier Tuesday. Ian Walsh was the only referee on the ice...Nashville has now captured five straight games against Colorado...The hosts finished 2-for-5 on the power play and the Avs were 1-for-5 with the extra skater...Attendance was 15,120.
12/20 23:32:49 ET