The Nashville Predators hoped the return of Patric Hornqvist would mean more offense.
This was not quite what they had in mind.
Hornqvist, Nashville’s leading goal scorer in two of the last three seasons, did not put up big numbers in his first appearance since he sustained a knee injury Jan. 26 at Anaheim. Plenty of others — on both teams — did.
Colin Wilson, Sergei Kostitsyn, Mike Fisher, Jonathon Blum and Shea Weber, all had a goal and an assist for the Predators but the Colorado Avalanche were even more prolific and Nashville fell 6-5 in an afternoon contest at Denver.
Weber got the final goal when he scored with 1:18 to play (Hornqvist had the secondary assist) and an extra attacker on the ice. It was the fourth time Nashville closed to within one goal in a game it never led. Several chances after that failed to produce a game-tying goal.
The scoring peaked when the teams combined for three scores in 29 seconds of the second period. Wilson made it a one-goal game for the third time, 4-3, when he scored his team-leading fifth goal at 13:17. The Avalanche answered with goals from Paul Stasny at 13:33 and Jamie McGinn at 13:46.
Blum’s unassisted goal with 50 seconds to go before the second intermission capped a second period in which the teams combined for seven goals. That matched Nashville’s highest combined total of goals in an entire game through its first 15 contests this season.
The Predators outshot the Avalanche 16-5 over the final 20 minutes and 37-28 for the game but lost in regulation for just the fourth time.
Chris Mason started in net for Nashville but was pulled after the sixth goal. Pekka Rinne played the final 46:23 and stopped all 10 shots he faced.
Matt Duchene and Aaron Palushaj each had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who got at least one point from nine different players.
Nashville is back in action Tuesday at home against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee). It is the first meeting of the season for the division rivals, who will play again Saturday at Detroit.