DENVER — Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne worried that a one-goal advantage heading into the third period wouldn't be enough for the Predators on Tuesday night.
Johansen and Watson scored in the first 2:42 of the third, and both had an assist in the Predators' 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
"We got really timely goals," Rinne said. "It was a big game for Colorado — they weren't going away."
Rinne stopped 37 shots, improving to 17-7-2 in his career against the Avalanche. He also finished the month 9-1-2.
A tight game was busted open by Johansen and Watson, who made it 5-2 early in the third.
"It gave us a little bit of a cushion," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "Because you knew that they were going to keep coming, offensively."
"They made us pay on a few different plays," Pickard said. "If you give them chances, they are going to bury (them)."
Arvidsson put Nashville up 2-1 just 7 seconds into the second period. He took an expert pass from P.K. Subban and beat Pickard on the glove side. It tied a franchise record for the quickest goal to a start a period, according to the team.
The Predators scripted the play coming out of intermission.
"Great play by Subby, great play by Arvi to break through the D and put it top shelf," Johansen said. "That was a big goal for us."
The Avalanche have struggled mightily all season early in periods. Colorado forward Matt Duchene said it's a problem that needs to be fixed immediately.
"I don't know why we aren't prepared for the start of periods," he said. "It's like we are on our heels; we don't want to make mistakes rather than we want to go out and win. I mean, it can't happen."
Fiala made it a two-goal advantage 3:04 into second, but Bourque cut it to 3-2 with his eighth of the season.
Fisher put the Predators ahead with 5:08 left in the first. After Colorado turned the puck over in its own zone, the Nashville captain took a pass from Watson and placed it under Pickard's armpit for his fifth goal of the season.
Rantanen tied it 66 seconds later for Colorado.
NOTES: The Predators finished their brief trip 1-1-0 after losing to Winnipeg 3-0 on Sunday. "It was huge for us to get some points on the road," Watson said. . Nashville LW James Neal (upper-body injury), the team's leading goal scorer, missed his second consecutive game. He had 10 goals before he was placed on injured reserve Saturday. ... D Ryan Ellis and forward Colton Sissons also are on IR with upper-body injuries for the Predators. .. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) missed his sixth straight game. ... Varlamov has been cleared to return from a wrist injury but served as Pickard's backup. ... Colorado RW Jarome Iginla appeared in his 1,495th game, tying Phil Housley for 17th on the career list.
Predators: Begin a three-game homestand Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.
Avalanche: Continue their homestand Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.