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Varmalov makes 23 saves in Avs’ shutout of Predators

DENVER (AP) — Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Friday night.

Jarome Iginla, Maxime Talbot, and Gabriel Landeskog had goals for the Avalanche, who earned an important win in their pursuit of a playoff berth.

Colorado is trying to stay in the thick of the race after a slow start to the season. The Avalanche are two points behind Calgary for the second wild-card position in the Western Conference but they have played one more game than the Flames.

Colorado improved to 8-3-3 in its last 14 games and has moved into fifth place in the Central Division. The Avalanche earned three of a possible four points against the division-leading Predators.

Nashville’s Marek Mazanec made 25 saves in his first start of the season.

The Avalanche didn’t capitalize on an early power play but scored 26 seconds after Nashville returned to full strength.

O’Reilly put a shot on goal from the half boards, and Nathan MacKinnon tried to stuff it past Mazanec. The puck leaked through to the front of the crease where Talbot flipped it into the open net at 13:49 of the first.

It was Talbot’s fourth goal of the season.

Nashville had two good scoring chances in the second period. Gabriel Bourque had a breakaway, but the puck slipped off his stick before he could get off a shot.

Later in the period, rookie Filip Forsberg went in alone on Varlamov, but the goalie made the save to keep Colorado in the lead.

Iginla scored an insurance goal at 5:54 of the third.

Colorado again couldn’t convert on a power play, but just 6 seconds after it expired, Matt Duchene fed Iginla from behind the net. His one-timer beat Mazanec.

The Predators pulled Mazanec for an extra skater with 2:15 left, and Landeskog scored a minute later to seal the victory.

NOTES: MacKinnon had two assists. … Iginla’s goal was the 1,200th point of his career. … Predators C Mike Ribero was ejected at 6:33 of the third. … The Avalanche recalled D Stefan Elliott after D Erik Johnson had right knee surgery that will sideline him for 3-to-8 weeks. … Nashville G Pekka Rinne is expected to miss up to three weeks because of a sprained knee.

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