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Predators Defeat Colorado, 3-2, Despite Late Avs Goal

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Martin Erat notched the game-winner late in the third period as Nashville hung on late to top Colorado, 3-2, at Pepsi Center.

Colin Wilson and Jordin Tootoo also scored for the Predators, who have won nine of their last 11 games to remain in the thick of the Western Conference standings.

Nashville vaulted over idle sixth-place Anaheim and is now tied with Los Angeles in fifth place with 94 points after the Kings lost in regulation at Vancouver.

Pekka Rinne made 27 stops for the win.

"We did not play well in the third. This was still a huge win for us, but we played smart earlier on to get this two points for us," the Finnish netminder admitted.

Paul Stastny and John-Michael Liles netted late scores for the Avalanche, who dropped their fourth straight game. Brian Elliott made 31 saves in defeat.

"We've already had some success on the road, seems like we play better there," said Avs forward Milan Hedjuk of the club's late-season slide in front of less than enthusiastic crowds. "I don't know what the explanation is. I realize what the attendance is, it's not what it used to be, it's our own fault."

Erat broke free up the middle with the Preds on the advantage and beat Elliott over the glove for a 3-0 contest with 7:08 left in regulation, and it was just enough to stave off a Colorado rally.

Stastny spoiled Rinne's shutout bid with 6:25 to play, then just as Elliott made it to the bench, Liles managed to put home a shot from the boards with 62 seconds left.

Rinne was forced to make only one more save as time wound down.

Wilson gave the Preds a lead with 4:25 left in the first period when he lifted a backhander home from the slot.

It was 2-0 for the visitors at 10:20 of the second after Tootoo deflected a Cody Franson shot from the right side.

Game Notes

Nashville swept all four games in the season series and has taken seven of the last eight meetings with Colorado over the last two years.