By Jim Diamond
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) — Although an ice-cold offense
failed to heat up, Wojtek Wolski did enough to lift the Colorado
Avalanche to victory.
Wolski scored two goals as the Avalanche ended their three-game
losing streak with a 2-1 triumph over the Nashville Predators on
Milan Hejduk recorded two assists and Andrew Raycroft made 22
saves as the Avalanche earned their first points since defeating
the Predators, 5-1, on December 29.
“You never want to say you need a win in January, but it is nice
to get it,” Raycroft said. “It’s a grind in January and
February, and that was textbook how we played tonight.”
Recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League prior to
the contest, Ryan Jones netted his fourth goal of the season and
Pekka Rinne stopped 19 shots for Nashville, which dropped its
fifth straight game.
“It has been five in a row now, and it is really testing our
team spirit right now,” Rinne said. “We’re not scoring right
now, and we have to work harder to find the solution.”
Colorado, which had been outscored, 11-2, during its recent
skid, fell into an early hole when Jones opened the scoring 7
1/2 minutes into the first period.
J.P. Dumont drove down the left wing and sent a wrist shot
toward Raycroft, who stopped the puck but was unable to handle
the rebound, which was buried by Jones on the doorstep.
“It’s nice to contribute, but we made one too many mistakes
tonight,” Jones said. “If we had a few lucky bounces, the game
would have been different.”
After starting the season in Nashville, Jones was sent to the
minors and registered 11 goals and 17 points in 21 games for the
“We asked (Jones) to come up and play well on both sides of the
puck. He got a goal, and that’s what you want players to do,”
Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “Jones drove to the net
really hard, and there was a rebound for him to tap in. That’s
how you score.”
Wolski forged a 1-1 tie with his eighth goal of the season,
taking a pass from Hejduk and firing a one-timer between the
pads of Rinne with 5:35 remaining in the first.
“Tonight, (Wolski) basically won the game for us, along with
Andrew Raycroft,” Colorado coach Tony Granato said. “He made a
play, and then in the second and third periods, we played as
solid defensively as we have all year.”
With 4:13 left in the second, Wolski struck for the second time,
giving the Avalanche the lead for good. From the left faceoff
dot, Hejduk dished the puck to Wolski, who lifted a backhander
over Rinne’s glove while sitting on the doorstep.
“Milan is such a gifted player, he can find you wherever you are
on the ice,” Wolski said. “Our big focus now is to get guys and
pucks to the net, and if we do that, we will get opportunities
Nashville’s best opportunity to tie the game came with 79
seconds remaining in the second on a breakaway by Dumont. But
his shot missed the net and enabled Colorado to improve to a
perfect 14-0-0 this season when leading after 40 minutes.