NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Wojtek Wolski had no trouble moving to centre for Colorado.
He scored both goals for the Colorado Avalanche in a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. “It is like riding a bike,” said Wolski, who shifted from left wing to cover the injury-depleted position. “Once you have done it for long enough you are going to get used to it and it will come back quickly. With our coaching staff helping me all the time and giving me pointers it has been a lot easier.”
It was the fifth loss in a row for the Predators. The Avalanche ended a three-game slide.
“It was textbook all-around,” goalie Andrew Raycroft said. “It is a grind in January and February to get wins. We don’t have all of our manpower and we have to find a way to win these games.
“We needed it. You never want to say you need a win in January, but it’s nice to get it. This was a great example of what we needed to do.”
Ryan Jones, recalled from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League earlier in the day, scored for the Predators.
“It was good to help the team,” said Jones. “We made too many mistakes, but it’s nice to help contribute.”
At 7:30 of the first period, J.P. Dumont fired a wrist shot from low inside the left circle that bounced off Avalanche goaltender Andrew Raycroft. The shot moved Raycroft to the far side of the goal mouth and Jones, stationed in front of the net, put the rebound into an open net. Raycroft had 22 saves.
Wolski, who hadn’t regularly played centre since junior hockey, and the Avalanche answered at 14:25. Milan Hejduk, skating down the left side passed the puck to Wolski who was skating low through the slot. Wolski’s one-timer beat Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne high to his glove side. Rinne finished with 19 saves.
Hejduk found Wolski in almost the same spot at 15:47 of the second period. This time Wolski beat Rinne with a shot that went above his shoulder and into the top of the net.
Colorado coach Tony Granato has no plans to move Wolski from centre any time soon.
“He showed that he wants to at that position and play with those guys (Hejduk and Smyth),” Granato said. “He basically won the game for us along with Andrew Raycroft.”
Notes: Wolski most recently scored two goals in a game Nov. 29, 2008, against Tampa Bay. … The Predators have scored 21 goals in their past 14 games.