Aebischer, Avs Blank Predators 3-0
Aebischer stopped 32 shots and his second shutout this season and 12th of his career sent the Predators to their fourth straight loss.
The crowd began chanting ``Abby! Abby!'' in the waning minutes for another rare moment this year - cheers for the goalie who has struggled for much of the season.
The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead when Boughner, a defenseman playing on the fourth line, picked up a rebound off of Alex Tanguay's shot in front of the net and put it past Tomas Vokoun at 15:23 of the first period. It was the first goal since Jan. 28, 2003, for Boughner, who hadn't even dressed for 19 of the Avalanche's 41 games this season.
The Predators were 0-for-10 on power plays, killing two themselves by taking penalties. During their four-game skid, they've converted just one of 27 power plays.
On their last power play, they yanked Vokoun with 2:35 left to secure a 6-on-4 advantage but still couldn't break through to avoid their first shutout this season. And Tanguay scored an empty-netter with 19 seconds left.
The Avalanche broke through on their third power play when Joe Sakic made a crossing pass to Brett Clark, who beat Vokoun to the glove side in the second period.
Colorado's John-Michael Liles slapped the puck off the left post seconds later. Then, Steve Sullivan had a short-handed breakaway for Nashville with two minutes remaining in the second period but missed the net.
The Predators, who lead the league with six wins when trailing heading into the third period, couldn't muster a comeback against Colorado, which beat Nashville for the first time since Nov. 24, 2003.
The Avalanche are looking for a strong start to the new year. They play 10 of their 13 games this month at the Pepsi Center after a brutal six-week stretch that was packed with road games and back-to-backs. However, it will also be a good test for the Avs, who are currently eighth in the Western Conference, because 10 of those games are against teams that entered January with a winning record.
POST GAME NOTES
David Aebischer notched his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career tonight...His other blanking this year came on Nov. 25 at Columbus...Aebischer notched his first victory since Nov. 29, snapping a four-game losing skid...The Avalanche notched back-to-back victories for the first time since Dec. 7-9...Colorado killed off each of Nashville's 10 power-play chances tonight, a season best...This, after the Predators went 5-for-14 with the man advantage in the previous two meetings against the Avs (35.7%)...Bob Boughner scored his first goal of the season tonight, his first goal since Jan. 28, 2003 at Phoenix...It snapped a 98-game goal-scoring drought, 109 games including the playoffs...With his assist tonight, Ian Laperriere now has 27 points, tying his single-season career high set with St. Louis in 1994-95...He has already matched his personal best with 13 goals set during that same 1994-95 season...Brett Clark scored his third goal of the season, which is a new single-season career best...His previous high was two goals with Montreal in 1998-99...Clark has already set a career standard with 15 points...Joe Sakic extended his point streak to five games tonight (3g 4a).
POST GAME QUOTES
Ian Laperriere: On Aebischer... "Like I said earlier this morning, somebody asked me if we need to tell him something. No one can tell him anything. The guy works hard in practice. That's how he'll come out of this slump. He's working hard and put in the effort and it showed tonight." On Being Halfway Through The Season... "We've had ups-and-downs I guess. We've got to be better. We had a good stretch and we had a bad stretch and that's not the team we want to be known for. We want to be known as a consistent team again."
David Aebischer: "I'm happy with the way I played. Now I just have to get consistent and I should be alright. We played really well, the whole team. I think the last two games we've played really solid defensively and that helped us goaltenders." On Sullivan's Breakaway... "I don't know if I touched but I knew he was pretty shifty. So I kind of challenged him a little bit. And then I poke-checked and saw he was going to lose the handle on it. I don't think he expected that from me." General... "I think our PK was the key tonight. They played really well. (Nashville) has a really good power play. With Kariya and Sullivan on each side, it's very tough to defend but we did a tremendous job."
Scott Hartnell: On Nashville's Power Play... "You look at the names and everyone on it and we should be getting two or three (goals) a night. But goalies can't stop the puck if their not able to see it. So we have to do a better job of that. We had a bunch of shots there at the end but nothing was going in. Sometimes it happens that you go through a streak like that. You have to keep it simple, keep shooting the puck and their bound to go in here."
Tomas Vokoun: "We've played some goalies who are struggling and we just....we had some chances, a 2-on-1 and a breakaway but we didn't get the shot. No matter if the goalie is struggling or not, the goalies in the NHL are good enough to stop those. In our zone, we were losing coverage. We kept them to two goals but you have to be able to score. Aebischer made some good saves but there wasn't enough pressure. He didn't have to fight through traffic much. You can't win if you don't score and obviously that's what happened tonight."