McLeod, Budaj help Avalanche jolt Predators

By Derek Nagy
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) — Cody McLeod scored two goals and Peter Budaj
stopped 25 shots as the Colorado Avalanche notched their third
consecutive victory with a 5-1 triumph over the Nashville
Predators on Monday night.

Rookie Chris Stewart, David Jones and defenseman John-Michael
Liles also tallied and Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski notched
two assists apiece for Colorado, which has won six of its last
eight games and is three games over the .500 mark for the first
time this season.

McLeod opened the scoring just 8:34 into the first period after
a pass from Svatos along the left boards somehow slid past
defenseman Greg Zanon and goaltender Pekka Rinne. McLeod
collected the puck and knocked it into the net to give Colorado
a 1-0 advantage.

Colorado doubled its lead just under three minutes later, when
McLeod redirected defenseman Brett Clark’s slap shot from the
just inside the blue line on the left side. The puck was
initially deflected by a diving Nashville player trying to block
the shot, but hit his leg and then was redirected in the net by

McLeod has a pair of two-goal games this season and has six on
the season.

“Lucky bounces, but work hard and you get the bounces,” McLeod
said. “Just go to the net and you’re going to get bounces here
and there. Some go in, some don’t. But they went in tonight.”

Stewart and Jones tallied for the Avalanche in the second as
Colorado built a 4-0 lead before Nashville got on the board.

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“The younger guys have to step up, including myself,” McLeod
said. “The young guys scored goals tonight and we just have to
keep doing that. It’s a 20-man effort and everybody contributed

Following a four-minute penalty given to Colorado’s Darcy
Tucker, captain Jason Arnott fired a slap shot from the top of
the left circle that hit defenseman Adam Foote’s stick and
kicked just enough to confuse Budaj as the Predators cut the
lead to 4-1. It was Arnott’s first goal since December 1 at

“Things just aren’t going our way,” Predators coach Barry Trotz
said. “Pucks are going off our guys into the net more than the
other team’s players. It’s just a little bit of unfortunate luck
and a slow start and at the same time we have to capitalize on
our offensive chances. We had tons of chances.”

Liles ended any thought of a Nashville comeback just 48 seconds
into the third period when he scored on a 2-on-none breakaway
with Ryan Smyth that gave the Avalanche a 5-1 lead.

“It wasn’t one of our prettier wins, but sometimes you’re
fortunate and you get the bounces and that was definitely the
case tonight,” Liles said.

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped 16 shots but dropped
his second consecutive decision following a 7-1-0 start.

“I felt good, obviously I’m not happy with the result,” Rinne
said. “It was just one of those nights where it seems like every
single chance they got they scored. It’s really frustrating.”