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Erat, Ellis lead Predators over Avalanche

Jan 11, 2012 - 5:08 AM
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Martin Erat joined Ryan Ellis with a goal and an assist, as the visiting Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche, 4-1, in the opener of a home-and-home series Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center.

Nick Spaling and Patric Hornqvist also tallied for Nashville, which raced out to a 3-0 lead in the game's first 15:05. Pekka Rinne made 32 saves for the Predators, who won their sixth in a row over the Avalanche. They are 5-1-0 in their last six games overall.

"Our start is what won us the game tonight," Rinne said.

Semyon Varlamov allowed four goals on 26 shots for Colorado, which has dropped two straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.

The Avalanche outshot the Predators 27-13 after the first period and got a power-play goal from Ryan O'Reilly, but couldn't climb out of the early hole.

"We just did not start the game on time tonight. It took us a long time just to get going," O'Reilly said.

A wraparound bid by Jordin Tootoo caromed off Varlamov into the slot, where Spaling fired it home at 4:31. After setting up Ellis for a one-timer on a power play at 7:41, Erat beat Varlamov over the shoulder with a wrister from the right circle.

O'Reilly put Colorado on the board by tipping a Paul Stastny shot with 36 seconds to play in the second period.

Hornqvist replied at the 15:34 mark of the third off a feed from Ellis.

Game Notes

These teams meet again Thursday in Nashville...Colorado is 1-7-1 against the Predators since the beginning of the 2009-10 season...Varlamov had a 1.94 goals-against average in winning his previous five home starts...Defensemen Erik Johnson (hand) and Shane O'Brien (knee) both missed the game for Colorado...Blueliner Ryan Wilson returned to the Avalanche lineup after missing the past 15 games, the first 13 because of a concussion.