Off of two days rest, the Colorado Avalanche looked to bounce back from Saturday’s loss in Dallas as they faced another Central Division foe, this time the Nashville Predators. The Avalanche hung on for most of the game, but ultimately lost by the score of 4-1 to last season’s Western Conference champions. Special teams proved to be the difference.

Both the Predators and the Avalanche were off to a slow start as an uneventful first period ended in a 0-0 score. The Avalanche did have the edge in shots on goal, outshooting the Preds eight to seven.

On a power play early in the second period — Colorado’s third of the game — the Avalanche scored the first goal of the night and Nathan MacKinnon scored his first of the season, giving the Avs the 1-0 lead.

The Predators would answer quickly when a botched offensive rush by Colorado led to a four-on-one the other way, and Viktor Arvidsson beat Semyon Varlamov to even the score at one.

Special teams played a major role in the second period, as a combined total of seven penalties were called. Late in the period, the Predators would capitalize on a power play, as Roman Josi scored on a five-on-three opportunity which put the Predators up 2-1. The power-play goal for Nashville was the eighth the Avalanche have allowed while a man down — the most allowed by any team so far this season.

Nashville’s Colton Sissons then made the score 3-1 on an odd-man rush during four-on-four play, proving, once again, the importance of non-five-on-five play in this year’s NHL.

At 4:08 into the third, the Predators put the nail in the coffin on their second five-on-five goal of the game. The goal was scored by Austin Watson, who put the puck in a wide-open net after Alexei Emelin’s shot from the point went wide of the net. Watson’s goal made the score 4-1 and would be the final goal of the game.

The Avalanche lost the battle in most statistical categories, most notably, in face-offs — winning only 35%.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 30-of-34 shots on goal. The contest against Nashville marked the third game in which Varlamov has faced 30 or more shots this season.

The Avalanche will have some rest after this short road trip as they come home to play only two games that will take place over seven calendar days. The first of which will be Thursday evening against the St. Louis Blues at 7 PM MST.