Second-period goals from Stastny, Svatos power Avs

DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche had a slow start and never

really cranked up the offense.

In the end, none of it really mattered.

Paul Stastny and Marek Svatos scored second-period goals to lead

the Avalanche to a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on

Saturday night.

Stastny has 29 points (11 goals and 18 assists) in Colorado's 16

home games. Jordan Leopold added his first goal of the season for

the Avalanche, 4-1 in their last five games.

"I think we played on our heels a little bit," Stastny said.

"They came out hard in the first, and [goalie Peter] Budaj played

well and we weathered that storm."

The Avalanche were outshot 17-5 in the first period and 32-16

overall -- a season-low output for Colorado.

"We weren't at the pace that was needed, and we gradually got

into it," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. "Scoring

certainly helped."

Budaj kept his team in the game by making 31 saves.

"They came out really hard, especially in the first period,"

Budaj said. "They took a lot of shots, even from bad angles, and

created a lot of chances. Thank God I was able to make saves."

Martin Gelinas scored the lone goal for Nashville, which lost

its third straight. The Predators were beaten at home by Colorado

2-1 on Thursday.

Chris Mason made 13 saves for Nashville.

Nashville, which owns the NHL's second worst power play, went

0-for-2. Colorado, fifth from the bottom, was 0-for-4.

The Predators failed to convert on their two power plays in a

scoreless first period. Jordin Tootoo had Nashville's best scoring

chance, a short-handed breakaway, but his shot from the slot was

easily smothered by Budaj.

"That's the third game in a row where we did all the right

things, played at a high energy level and walk away with a loss,"

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We are ringing posts, missing

wide-open nets and have nothing to show for it."

Stastny put the Avalanche ahead 1-0 with a one timer from the

slot that got past Mason's glove at 4:06 of the second period.

Stastny's 14th of the season was set up by Ryan Smyth's pass from

the boards and came on Colorado's sixth shot of the game.

"It was a nice play by Smitty to look me off the first time I

got open, and faked the slapper," Stastny said. "Then, he threw

it across to me, and it froze Mason a little bit, so I just put it

into the top of the net."

Svatos made it 2-0 at 14:50 of the period, on a rebound of his

own shot for his 10th goal.

Gelinas sent a backhander under Budaj's glove at 15:43 of the

second period for Nashville to make it 2-1. Budaj had stopped shots

by Marek Zidlicky and Scott Nichol.

"We're squeezing our sticks too tightly," Tootoo said.

"Sooner or later the goals have to come. Our shots have to start

going into the net."

The Avalanche nearly scored early in the third period when Mason

deflected a shot by Cody McCormick off the right post.

Leopold got the puck past Mason with a slap shot from the right

circle at 10:53 to give Colorado a 3-1 lead. The Avalanche had a

6-on-5 skating advantage due to a delayed penalty on Nichol.

Game notes
Nashville's RW Martin (neck strain) will rejoin the team in

Minnesota on Monday. ... The start of the game was delayed briefly

by a malfunctioning goal light. ... Avalanche captain Joe Sakic

missed his eighth straight game due to a groin injury. ... D

John-Michael Liles limped off the ice late in the first period, but

returned in the second.