Series (Game 1 of 4)

Colorado leads 2-1

Game 1: Sunday, November 10th
Game 2: Thursday, November 14th
Game 3: Thursday, November 21st
Game 4: Wednesday, January 1st

Predators 4

(2-6-4, 10 pts)

Avalanche 3

(4-4-3, 15 pts)

8:00 PM ET, November 10, 2002

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
NSH 1 2 14
COL 0 2 13

V. Orszagh (Predators - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Sakic (Avalanche - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Legwand (Predators - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Orszagh's late goal drops Avs to 0-4-3-1 at home

DENVER (AP) -- The Nashville Predators were not only the worst team in the Western Conference, but also were nearing the end of an exhausting seven-game road trip, and they must have seemed like easy pickings to the Colorado Avalanche.

Nothing, however, is easy for the Avalanche at home this season.

Vladimir Orszagh scored at 15:55 of the third period, Tomas Vokoun had 33 saves and the Predators prevailed 4-3 Sunday night, prolonging the Avalanche's home-ice futility.

Nashville won for the first time in 13 road games dating to last season. Colorado fell to 0-4-3-1 at home this season -- the worst home start in the franchise's 24-year history.

Nashville was even able to overcome the loss of two players to injury during the game. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen bruised his left ankle early in the second period and didn't return. Forward Dominic Pittis sustained a concussion in the first period and didn't return.

''We lost Dominic and Kimmo early, but the guys dug in and got it done,'' coach Barry Trotz said. ''We got really good goaltending tonight, and we got some timely goals. A lot of our goals, like the winner by Orszagh, was just hard work.''

Joe Sakic's 10th goal of the season -- on a rare power play -- pulled Colorado into a 3-3 tie at 8:15 of the final period.

During an ensuing scramble in front of the Colorado goal, Orszagh poked the puck past Patrick Roy for his fourth goal of the season.

''I felt the puck come between my leg,'' Orszagh said. ''I put it on my backhand side and shoved it on the net. Luckily, it went in.

''We put three quality periods together. We have been losing or tying games on the road in the third period and that had been heartbreaking. This one could have been heartbreaking when we lost the lead. But we pulled together at the end.''

Roy, returning to the ice after missing the last three games with a sore left hip, had 24 saves.

''I think it's mental right now,'' Roy said. ''We're not playing our game. Guys are putting too much pressure on themselves. We have to find a way to win one game here. After that we'll get going.''

Asked if the Avalanche viewed the game as a winnable one, Sakic said, ''Yeah, you would think so. But when things aren't going well, they're not going well. We're in it as a team, and we're going to have to get out of it as a team.''

Colorado held a players-only meeting after the game.

Coach Bob Hartley noted that the Avalanche ''are at .500 after 15 games (4-4-4-3), and that's where we deserve to be right now. We're basically at the same spot we were in last year. The sad thing right now is that we're throwing valuable points in the garbage.''

Nashville's Wyatt Smith got his first goal of the season just 1:14 into the game, scoring from inside the left circle.

Vokoun stopped Steven Reinprecht and Peter Forsberg on back-to-back shots at close range.

Each team scored two goals in the second period.

Colorado's Alex Tanguay scored from the slot at 6:03 after taking a pass from behind the net by Milan Hejduk. The Avalanche went ahead 2-1 when Eric Messier dug the puck out of the right corner and fed Mike Keane in the slot at 12:23.

Barely a minute later, Jason York tied it with a power-play goal at 13:34. The Predators took a 3-2 lead on David Legwand's short-handed goal at 18:42. Legwand shot from the right circle and tipped in the rebound.

Game notes

Colorado defenseman Rob Blake was back in the lineup after missing one game with a groin injury. ... Colorado entered the game with the league's worst power play at home and the league's worst penalty kill at home. ... Nashville was winless in its previous 12 road games (0-6-2-4), including losing its final three games of last season. ... It was the first of three games between the teams in 12 days. ... It was the sixth game of a seven-game road trip for Nashville, the longest in franchise history.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press