for this game

Avalanche pick up crucial win against Predators

Jan 31, 2007 - 6:30 AM
DENVER (Ticker) -- Wojtek Wolski and the Colorado Avalanche started an important homestand with a big win.

Wolski had a goal and an assist and Colorado turned in a performance worthy of a playoff team, posting a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Colorado entered the game four points behind the Minnesota Wild for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Avalanche host the Wild on Thursday but first opened their five-game homestand with a win over the red-hot Predators.

"Right now, we have to win some games and close the gap," Wolski said. "We're happy we got the win, but we're focused right now on Minnesota."

Nashville had won 10 of its last 11 games but got off to a slow start as Colorado raced out to a 2-0 lead. Wolski recorded an assist on a goal by Andrew Brunette just over five minutes into the game and Tyler Arnason made it 2-0 four minutes later.

"In the first period, we had some chances, but we turned the puck over and they capitalized on them," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We were too loose and gave up too many 2-on-1s. We were our own worst enemy tonight in giving them goals. They got some talented guys and they'll capitalize on mistakes, and they did."

The Predators forged a 2-2 tie on goals by Jason Arnott with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first session and by Paul Kariya four minutes into the second.

Wolski put the Avalanche back in front with his 17th goal of the season with just under four minutes left in the second period. Milan Hejduk added what turned out to be the game-winner 46 seconds into the third to make it 4-2.

"I think we were skating. We were trying to get the puck in, making sure we were forechecking hard," Wolski said. "Tonight, we tried to make sure we were better with the puck through the neutral zone with lots of speed."

Steve Sullivan made it 4-3 with 40 seconds to play, but netminder Peter Budaj withstood a furious push by Nashville in the closing seconds.

"We gave up way too many 2-on-1s in the first period for us to think that we're going to be successful," Sullivan said. "I thought we really tightened it up in the second and third, but their goaltender made some huge saves for them and they broke up some plays by us. I give them credit, they played well."

Budaj made 34 saves for Colorado, which improved to 7-3-2 in January and rebounded from perhaps its worst effort of the season in Sunday's 3-1 loss at Detroit.

The Avalanche managed only 12 shots on goal against the Red Wings, but they peppered Nashville's Tomas Vokoun with 15 in the first period and 35 overall.

"It's definitely a good feeling," Budaj said. "I think our guys bounced back. I think it was a bad effort in Detroit. Tonight was a different story. We scored four goals against the best team in the league. The guys did a great job."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 1 1 3
    COLORADO 2 1 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 18 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 5:11
    COL - TYLER ARNASON 12 (OSSI VAANANEN, BRETT MCLEAN) 9:15
    NAS - JASON ARNOTT 18 (STEVE SULLIVAN, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT)
    17:27
    2ND PRD: NAS - PAUL KARIYA 17 (MAREK

    Jan 30 10:30 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 3
    COLORADO 4
    3RD PRD: NAS - STEVE SULLIVAN 18 (UNASSISTED) 19:20 (WITH EXTRA
    ATTACKER)

    Predators vs. AvalancheJan 30 10:29 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    COLORADO 4
    3RD PRD: COL - MILAN HEJDUK 16 (PAUL STASTNY, JORDAN LEOPOLD) 0:46

    Predators vs. AvalancheJan 30 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 1 2
    COLORADO 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 18 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 5:11
    COL - TYLER ARNASON 12 (OSSI VAANANEN, BRETT MCLEAN) 9:15
    NAS - JASON ARNOTT 18 (STEVE SULLIVAN, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT)
    17:27
    2ND PRD: NAS - PAUL KAR

    Jan 30 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    COLORADO 3
    2ND PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 17 (ANDREW BRUNETTE, JOE SAKIC) 16:14

    Predators vs. AvalancheJan 30 9:31 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    COLORADO 2
    2ND PRD: NAS - PAUL KARIYA 17 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, MARTIN ERAT) 3:55

    Predators vs. AvalancheJan 30 9:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 1
    COLORADO 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 18 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 5:11
    COL - TYLER ARNASON 12 (OSSI VAANANEN, BRETT MCLEAN) 9:15
    NAS - JASON ARNOTT 18 (STEVE SULLIVAN, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT)
    17:27
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1

    Jan 30 8:45 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    COLORADO 2
    1ST PRD: NAS - JASON ARNOTT 18 (STEVE SULLIVAN, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT)
    17:27

    Predators vs. AvalancheJan 30 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    COLORADO 2
    1ST PRD: COL - OSSI VAANANEN 3 (BRETT MCLEAN, TYLER ARNASON) 9:15

    Predators vs. AvalancheJan 30 8:27 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    COLORADO 1
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 18 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 5:11

    Predators vs. AvalancheJan 30 8:19 PM