DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche are showing they won’t be pushed around this season.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 26 shots, P.A. Parenteau scored two goals and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Friday night.
Patrick Bordeleau had a goal and rookie Nathan MacKinnon had an assist for the Avalanche, who have won their first two games under new coach Patrick Roy with another physical showing.
Pekka Rinne had 33 saves and Paul Gaustad scored for the Predators, who lost for the second time in as many nights.
The game featured two of the top four picks in last June’s draft. MacKinnon was taken first overall and Seth Jones, a Denver native, was picked fourth by the Predators. The friends were on the ice together throughout the game but didn’t chat much.
“It felt a little different from the Memorial Cup,” Jones said. “I didn’t really talk to him before the game. Lined up with him a couple of times and small talk.”
Said MacKinnon: “I talked to him a little bit. He’s my buddy.”
For the second straight game, the Avalanche created some controversy. Forward Steve Downie drew the ire of the opponent a day after Roy was fined $10,000 by the league for his actions in the opener. Downie left his feet to deliver a hit on Roman Josi and knocked the Nashville defenceman out of the game with an upper-body injury.
Shea Weber and Gabriel Bourque went after Downie before the officials broke it up.
“We’re trying to get all of that out of the game, launching yourself, especially the head shots,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “If you watch the film it’s pretty self-explanatory and the league will handle it correctly. There will be something to come out of it I think.”
It was a tough loss for the Predators, who lost a skilled defenceman when they’re struggling defensively.
“We need some of our skill guys to step up. No production from some of our skill guys,” Trotz said. “We’ve got some work to do. There were lots of positives, but the negative is we didn’t’ win the game.”
Colorado saw Downie’s hit differently.
“That was a great hit. I thought it was a fair check,” Roy said. “What I like about Steve is he is a great leader and he plays hard. He doesn’t go wild. He stays composed, he stays focused and he doesn’t get rattled.”
The Avalanche scored first for the second straight game. Jamie McGinn, who had two goals in Wednesday’s win, gloved the puck in the slot and fired a shot on Rinne, who made the initial save.
Parenteau jumped on the rebound and knocked it in to give Colorado a 1-0 lead with 1:10 left in the first period.
“It was a great play by Jamie McGinn, keeping it in there and shooting at the net,” Parenteau said. “It was a strong effort and I was there to get the rebound.”
Colorado made it 2-0 at 7:54 of the second with a goal from the fourth line. Bordeleau, the team’s enforcer, tipped in a shot from the point by Nate Guenin for his third career goal.
“It’s just one of those plays where it just goes in,” Rinne said. “I think it hit the post and went in. It was a good tip for him. Our guy, Gaustad, was trying to block the shot and it went through his legs.”
Nashville cut the lead in half with a goal at the end of a power play. Gaustad spun and used Avalanche defenceman Jan Hejda as a screen to beat Varlamov with 5:50 left in the second.
The Predators couldn’t get the equalizer, but they got back at Downie when defenceman Victor Bartley checked him into the Nashville goal at the end of a play midway through the third.
“They came up and were supporting a teammate,” Trotz said.
Parenteau put the game away with an empty-net goal with 1:12 left.
NOTES: The Predators said Josi will be evaluated this weekend. … Avalanche C Gabriel Landeskog (leg) was scratched. He is day to day. … Rinne is 11-4-1 against Colorado in his career. … Nashville C Filip Forsberg was scratched with a lower body injury.