Predators rally in 3rd, beat Avalanche 5-3
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Fisher got an assist on an empty netter and the win in his debut with his new team. Peter Forsberg isn’t happy with himself yet, and the Colorado Avalanche are just plain desperate for a victory.
Cody Franson scored with 2:30 left, and the Nashville Predators beat Colorado 5-3 on Saturday night for their second straight victory and third in four games. It was a big thrill for Franson, who grew up watching Forsberg a lot.
“He was always one of the best players in the game, and I think he always will be,” Franson said.
But the Avalanche have lost seven straight — including two since Forsberg rejoined the team — for their longest skid since the franchise relocated to Colorado for the 1995-96 season.
“We shot the puck well, put three past one of the best goalies in the league,” Colorado forward Matt Duchene said. “It’s tough. We just can’t catch a break. This is one of the most frustrating things I’ve been a part of.”
Martin Erat had a goal and two assists for Nashville, which outshot Colorado 39-18. David Legwand added a goal and an assist, and Patric Hornqvist and Shea Weber scored a goal apiece.
Fisher had an assist on Legwand’s empty-net goal with 45.2 seconds left with his wife, singer Carrie Underwood, in the stands.
“You always want to win that first one, and it feels really good to get that one,’ Fisher said. “That felt pretty good. Just trying to fit in as much as I can and learn from the other guys.”
Duchene scored in the third, Kevin Porter had a goal and an assist, and David Jones also had a goal for Colorado.
Forsberg took two shots and played 17 minutes, 32 seconds. But the 37-year-old Swede also was called for two penalties in the second period.
The 2003 Hart Trophy winner who helped the Avalanche to two Stanley Cups during his first stint with the team wasn’t very happy with his play despite playing his second game in as many nights.
“If we would have won the game, then maybe. But we got a bad break there at the end, and they scored one,” Forsberg said. “You should never be happy when you lose.”
The Avalanche led 1-0 and 3-2 with the last lead coming when Duchene scored his 21st on a slap shot from the left circle at 2:54 of the third. But Nashville tied it again when Hornqvist took a pass from Legwand and scored his 17th, sending a wrister past Peter Budaj’s glove at 4:11.
Franson then had the go-ahead goal, snapping off a shot at the blue line that went through Budaj’s legs.
“Both times they scored, we responded really quickly,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “A real good job.”
Porter put Colorado up 1-0 at 11:05 in the first when he took a pass from Paul Stastny and backhanded it past Pekka Rinne. But Weber answered 11 seconds later.
Nashville went ahead 2-1 when Erat scored on the power play at 4:36 of the second. He went to the crease and kept poking away until he pushed the puck past Budaj.
Jones responded about five minutes later, wristing a shot past Rinne’s left skate to tie it again.
Forsberg had a shot on goal during Colorado’s first power play in the second period, but was called for interference. He was whistled later for hooking center Nick Spaling.
Forsberg looked winded as he sat in the penalty box after the second infraction.
“I thought we ran out of gas a little bit towards the end of the game, but other than that it’s tough,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. “Back-to-back games, first time back with a team, first time back in the NHL. It’s not easy, but certainly I thought the effort was there. We tried to manage his shifts appropriately so that he wasn’t caught out there too long.”
Trotz coached Forsberg for 17 games in Nashville in 2007 after the Predators traded for him. He was impressed by what he saw.
“He’s still hard to handle,” Trotz said. “It’s amazing. You don’t play, and you’re that hard to handle in the best league in the world. I’ve got a lot of admiration for Peter Forsberg. He’s one of those rare, rare athletes that you don’t see too often.”
NOTES: Nashville notched its ninth sellout this season. … Weber has six goals and 14 assists in his last 20 games. … Nashville, with the NHL’s third-stingiest, penalty-killing unit, has allowed only one goal in its last 23 short-handed situations. … Colorado D Adam Foote missed a third straight game with a leg injury. … The Avalanche are 3-6 in the second half of back-to-back games. … The franchise record for consecutive losses is a 14-game skid between Oct. 21 and Nov. 19, 1990, when the Avalanche were the Quebec Nordiques.
Updated February 12, 2011