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02/18/2013 7:31 PM EST
Duchene leads Avalanche past Predators 6-5
COLORADO 6, NASHVILLE 5

By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer

DENVER (AP) -- It took a disputed goal by Matt Duchene for the
Colorado Avalanche to snap their string of nine straight losses
to the Nashville Predators.



Colorado's star looked offside on his second-period goal in the
Avalanche's 6-5 win in a Monday matinee, but the officials ruled
Nashville had brought the puck back into their zone.



"The league already verified that it should have been an
offside," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said shortly after the
game.



"The explanation from the crew here was that we passed it back.
We didn't pass it back. That's why they didn't blow the whistle.
The league's already talked to us about it. There's no fix. It's
just one of those things. Everybody has a bad day."



Including Nashville goaltender Chris Mason, who allowed six
goals on just 18 shots before being replaced by Pekka Rinne, who
turned back all 10 shots he faced over the final 24 minutes as
the Predators made a furious rally from a three-goal deficit but
came up just short.



When the Predators pulled their goalie and Shea Weber scored
with 1:18 left to make it a one-goal game, Duchene's disputed
goal loomed ever larger.



P.A. Parenteau had sent the puck up the ice and it deflected off
Nashville defenseman Scott Hannan's stick and Predators forward
Craig Smith's left skate on its way to a surprised Duchene, who
looked over his shoulder before gathering it in and scoring as
both Hannan and Smith pulled up.



Even Duchene expected to hear a whistle for being offside.



When he didn't, "I was shocked," Duchene said. "Even after I
shot it, I thought maybe I missed something. Like I said, I
didn't see the play. It might have been a good call by the
linesman, but from what I heard, it wasn't."



This was one of the few breaks the Avalanche have caught this
season.



"We're not complaining, that's for sure," Duchene said.



The Predators did.



Trotz vehemently argued the score, which put Colorado ahead 3-1.



By game's end, he had cooled off, resigned to the bad call that
proved so costly.



"That's part of life, that's part of the game," Trotz said.
"Certain things are going to happen and you can't control them.
There was nothing we could control about it, we just had to play
through it. We didn't. It threw us off for a bit."



Trotz was kicking himself for not pulling Mason at that point
instead of later in the period following back-to-back goals by
Paul Stastny and Jamie McGinn that came just 13 seconds apart.



Those scores made it 6-3 and forced Trotz to summon Rinne, who
is 6-1-1 in his past eight starts, with 6 minutes left in the
second period.



"We stopped playing for two minutes and they got two goals,"
Trotz said. "The offside was a good play by Duchene. I probably
should have made the change then and I didn't. That's on me. We
fought back, but we were a little bit short."



Duchene also had two assists in helping the Avalanche to a rare
win over the Predators, who had outscored Colorado 34-14 while
sweeping the season series each of the past two years. His last
assist, to McGinn, proved the difference.



"It was a game of some crazy bounces tonight," Colorado coach
Joe Sacco said. "I think the bigger play though was the one when
he set up McGinn when he was able to out-battle one of their
defenders and come up with that loose puck and make that play to
McGinn. That was a huge goal.



"It was one of those games tonight where there were a lot of
funny things going on."



The Predators pulled to 6-4 heading into the third period when
Jonathon Blum's shot bounced off Jan Hejda's skate and scooted
past Semyon Varlamov, who was coming off a 50-save game in a
loss at Edmonton on Saturday night and saved 33 shots in this
game.



Mason also allowed goals by Aaron Palushaj, Tyson Barrie and
Chuck Kobasew.



"I just didn't make saves when I needed to make saves," Mason
said. "They came hard to the net and they really work hard.
They're a good offensive team and they caught us a little off
guard the first part of the game."



Notes: Among the missing players from the Avalanche lineup were
D Erik Johnson (head) and F Gabriel Landeskog (concussion). ...
Last season's leading scorer Ryan O'Reilly continues to hold out
in a contract dispute. ... Nashville C Paul Gaustad (upper body
injury) went out in the second period. ... Since the start of
the 2003-04 season, Nashville has a 22-8-8 record in matinees.

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