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Third TV timeout standing O, third Preds win…

Alright, so Mike Fisher debuted as a Predator tonight. But everyone in Nashville is going to use that story line so let’s not do that.

It was Peter Forsberg‘s first game in Nashville since his all-too-short stint with the Predators back in 2006-07. But everyone in Denver is going to use that story line so let’s not do that either.

It was the third TV timeout standing ovation of this season and all of them have produced wins.

(There. That’s better.)

The Nashville Predators defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 in front of a sold out Bridgestone Arena crowd on Saturday night. The Preds got goals by Shea Weber, Martin EratPatric Hornqvist, Cody Franson and David Legwand as well as 15 saves by Pekka Rinne.

The Predators improved to 30-19-7 on the year and find themselves back in fourth place in the Western Conference.

Rinne, who looked shaky early, gave up three Colorado goals on just 10 shots but then came up with several big saves after his team tied it up at three. It’s his 20th win of the season.

In what seemed to be a carbon-copy of the Edmonton Oilers game this past Monday, it was all Preds early but the opponent managed to score first. Avalanche forward Kevin Porter took a pass from Paul Stastny and then broke in on Rinne, going forehand, backhand and sliding under the Nashville netminder.

That 1-0 lead only lasted 11 seconds, however as Weber blasted a shot past Colorado goalie Peter Budaj.

Early in the middle frame, after Avs forward David Jones took a hooking penalty, Erat took a pass from Hornqvist behind the net and banged it through Budaj to give the Predators the 2-1 lead.

Just as Nashville had answered moments after the initial Colorado goal, the Avalanche did the same with the Preds’ second tally. With some confusion as to who was going to pick-up who, Jerred Smithson over-committed along the wall and Jones, seeing that, came off the boards and went right to the net, putting the puck past Rinne to tie it up.

Colorado then took the lead 3-2 when Matt Duchene skated into the Nashville zone, wound up and blasted a laser past Rinne’s blocker.

But, in this game of constant volleys, the Predators answered when Hornqvist scored his first goal since February 1 by wristing a shot past Budaj less than 1:30 later.

Nashville then got their fourth goal (a/k/a the “Frosty goal”) when Franson wristed one from the blue line that found it’s way to the twine.

Legwand then added the empty netter in the final minute.

The Predators will face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena in what will be a battle for fourth place in the Western Conference. San Jose currently sits in sixth place while Nashville leap-frogged them into fourth with their win tonight. The Phoenix Coyotes also won tonight which currently puts them in fifth.

Puck drops at 7:05pm.

* Marcel Goc, who left in the first period of Wednesday’s tilt with the Detroit Red Wings, was not in the lineup tonight. Both Trotz and General Manager David Poile are on record saying Goc “wasn’t hurt.”
* Budaj made 29 saves in their 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. He made 34 tonight, giving him 63 saves in the last 24 hours.
* Fisher’s career in a Predators sweater has his stat line at one assist, two penalty minutes, a plus-2 rating and two shots. He was also an impressive 12-4 in the face-offdot.
* Colorado has now lost seven straight and are 0-2-0 since Forsberg’s return.
* Since being called out in the papers by Trotz, Legwand has two goals and an assist and Erat has two goals and two assists.
* This is the first two-game win streak by the Predators since January 23.
* Hornqvist finished with a game-high seven shots on goal.
* Forsberg ended the game with only two shots on goal and a minus-2 rating. He did goon it up for the Avs though as he had four penalty minutes. He hasn’t had four PIM’s in a regular season game since February 3, 2007.
* This was the ninth sellout of the year for the Preds. They’ve now sold out 38% of their home games this season. And, now that football season is over, that number will only go up.
* The Predators are now five points back from the Central Division leaders Detroit Red Wings. Detroit was idle tonight.

MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 5:59 left in regulation):
1) Peter Budaj (COL)
2) Patric Hornqvist (NSH)
3) Martin Erat (NSH)

1) Patric Hornqvist (NSH)
2) Cody Franson (NSH)
3) Martin Erat (NSH)