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Pekka Rinne makes 27 saves, Predators hold off Avalanche to sweep season series

The surging Nashville Predators gave themselves a little breathing room in the Western Conference playoff race.

Pekka Rinne made 27 saves and the Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Thursday night to pass Anaheim, jumping from seventh place into a tie for fifth with Los Angeles with four games left.

Martin Erat had a goal and an assist and Colin Wilson and Jordin Tootoo also scored to help the Predators win for the ninth time in 11 games.

“It’s been an amazing season how tight it’s been,” Rinne said. “You feel sharp and feel fresh all the time because there’s so much on the table.”

The Predators could keep climbing. They moved within four points of Central Division-leading Detroit and host the Red Wings on Saturday. Detroit has lost five of its last six, including a 10-3 home loss to St. Louis on Wednesday night.

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