The Colorado Avalanche came out flat and got beat down, 5-2, by the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Pekka Rinne was hardly tested as the Avalanche (26-24-11) mustered just eight shots in the first 40 minutes.

The Predators (41-13-7) have now won six straight at home – allowing only seven goals in those contests. They improved to 23-1-3 when leading after two periods.

Semyon Varlamov – who made his 17th straight start – allowed four goals on 29 shots before being replaced by Reto Berra early in the third period. Berra turned away all of the 11 shots he faced.

A big hit by Gabriel Landeskog in the first period drew the ire of Shea Weber. Nashville’s captain skated straight to Colorado’s captain, dropped the gloves, and started a fight. As a result of instigating the bout, Weber was accessed 17 minutes worth of penalties. It was Landeskog’s third fight of the season.

Cody McLeod later registered his league-leading 16th fight of the season once the game was out of hand in the third period.

Nathan MacKinnon opened the scoring on Colorado’s first shot of the game at 3:57 of the first period. The suddenly hot 19-year-old fired a slap shot from the blue line that ricocheted off of Roman Josi’s skate blade and past Rinne.

It was the fourth consecutive shot to find the back of the net for MacKinnon – who registered a hat trick on just three shots in the Avs’ previous game.

Colorado’s lead was short lived as Nashville answered just 15 seconds later with a Calle Jarnkrok breakaway goal to even the score at 1-1. Along with the goal, Nashville took momentum of the game and controlled it from that point forward.

Craig Smith gave the Predators a lead that they would never relinquish at 4:32 of the second stanza when he unleashed a cannon from the outside that beat Varlamov to the far post.

Roman Josi got lucky on the Predators third goal. The defenseman took a quick snap shot from the point that Varlamov never saw as it flew past him.

It was the Predators’ league-leading 41st goal by a defenseman this season.

Calder Trophy candidate Filip Forsberg made it 4-1 and chased Varlamov in the first minute of the closing period with his team-leading 21st of the season.

Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy elected to pull the goalie for the extra-attacker on the power play midway through the third period and it cost his team an empty-net goal.

“Don’t want to give up,” coach Roy said. “As a coach you always believe in your team.”

John Mitchell added a meaningless, late power-play goal on a nice set up by Matt Duchene. The Avs’ power play went 1-for-4.

“You have to give (the Predators) credit. This is a good team. Well balanced. They have the best home record (in the league) for a reason,” coach Roy said. “I love their intensity, they were quick on the puck, they put a lot of pressure on our D’. They certainly deserve credit for their performance. They were the best team on the ice tonight.”

The Avalanche will try to get back in the winning column when they visit the Dallas Stars on Friday.

Nathan is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached on Twitter at @TheRealNatron.

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