NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The home debut of Nashville Predators goaltender Devin Dubnyk was one he'd probably like to forget.
Colorado scored three times in the first 12:05 on Dubnyk and added two in the third period as the Avalanche withstood a furious third-period rally to post a 5-4 victory over the Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.
Defenseman Nick Holden had two goals and an assist, and center Matt Duchene, defenseman Jan Hejda and left winger Gabriel Landeskog each added goals.
Centers Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon each had two assists for the Avalanche (31-12-5).
"You kind of get the big lead and sometimes you sit back," Stastny said. "We sat back a little too much and then I think (Nashville) picked up a lot of momentum in the third. (Goaltender Semyon) Varlamov made a couple of big saves there (at the end) and we found a way to get the win, which was big for us."
Leading 3-1, the Avalanche seemed to put it away early in the third period. Holden had a slap-shot goal from about 10 feet in front of the blue line and then Colorado got a power-play goal from Duchene at 6:31 of the third to extend its advantage to four goals.
That was too much for Nashville, which has the NHL's third-worst offense, to overcome.
"There was no quit on the bench. I said, 'Just stay with it.' We were doing enough good things in terms of our game, but tonight in the first period, our defensive game was really light and not very good," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.
"We dug ourselves a hole, but we came back and we had a chance to get a point right at the end. There's no quit, but it was a little bit tough to take because of the start."
Colorado opened the scoring at 6:21 of the first period, catching Dubnyk, distracted by traffic to his left, out of position. MacKinnon shot the puck into a group of players and it deflected right to Holden on the other side for an easy goal.
Hejda scored an unassisted goal with a slap-shot from close to the same place where Holden had his second goal. Just 38 seconds later, Stastny fired a puck in traffic that Dubnyk deflected. It went to MacKinnon, stationed to Dubnyk's left, who slipped it to Landeskog for a goal.
Holden, who had just two previous goals in 27 games that span three NHL seasons, later sat in the locker room and played the part of the humble hero as teammates ribbed him a bit.
"The first (goal), the puck landed perfectly flat and I had a wide-open net and I put it in," the 26-year-old Canadian said. "The second one, I had a lane, I hit it as hard as I could and it just snuck through. Neither goal was really a highlight-reel goal, but I just got pucks on net and luckily they went in."
Nashville got on the board with a second-period power-play goal when forward David Legwand passed it cross-ice to forward Mike Fisher, who slid it back to his left where winger Patric Hornqvist, waiting in the slot, jammed it past Varlamov at 14:46 to make it 3-1.
Next came a slap-shot from defenseman Shea Weber just inside the blue line that was deflected and found the net just as the horn sounded. It wasn't to be, however, as the goal judge signaled that it was too late. Replays upheld that ruling.
After the Avalanche made it 5-1 with the two quick goals at the start of the third period, Nashville center Craig Smith picked up an easy power-play goal on a loose puck that got behind Varlamov at 8:14.
At 12:45, the Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis fired a rocket from just inside the blue line that also found the net. With 2:57 left, Nashville defenseman Roman Josi fired a slap-shot to cut the lead to a goal.
The Predators got four more good looks in the last 35 seconds but couldn't score.
"It's not important how the game starts; it's the result at the end. We won the game," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said.
Dubnyk, a 27-year-old in his fifth NHL season, said nervousness in his new surroundings contributed to an off-night.
"I guess I wasn't really myself," Dubnyk said. "Usually what I bring to the table is a calmness and a presence, and relax back there, and giving guys a nice, settling feeling. There's a lot going on and was real excited to get out here and play with this group.
"I think there was a little too much thinking going on my part and not just trusting and going out and playing hockey. That's disappointing to see an effort like out of this group and not be able to help them to two points."
Trotz echoed that sentiment later.
"He got nervous and he was rusty," Trotz said. "I know Dubnyk has been in the league a long time and I've seen a lot better games from him, but it was his first game. We gave him very little support early and it just looked like he was nervous after that."
NOTES: Nashville reassigned 22-year-old G Marek Mazanek to Milwaukee after acquiring G Devan Dubnyk from Edmonton on Wednesday. ... Colorado LW Cody McLeod and Predators LW Eric Nystrom dropped the gloves just 49 seconds into the game. Both got five-minute majors for fighting. ... The Avalanche took 14 first-period shots. ... Colorado C Nathan MacKinnon came in as the league's leader in points among rookies and added (two) Friday night.