Predators top Avalanche 5-4

Jim Diamond Associated Press
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
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Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard (49) moves the puck away from goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. AP PHOTO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Matt Duchene scored two goals, including the game-winner on a power play 3:01 into overtime, and the streaking Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Luke Kunin also scored twice, Tanner Jeannot added a goal and Juuse Saros made 40 saves to help Western Conference-leading Nashville win its fifth straight. Roman Josi had three assists in a matchup between the top two teams in the Central Division.

“I just liked our mindset,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “We just kept playing and doing the right things.”

Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for Colorado, which had won five in a row. Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Andre Burakovsky and Nathan MacKinnon also scored for the Avalanche, and Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves.

In overtime, J.T. Compher blocked Josi’s shot attempt, but the puck caromed to Duchene in the slot, where he fired it past Kuemper.

“That’s a good feeling, a good feeling for sure,” Duchene said. “It just bounced out. Obviously, kind of an open net, I just had to hit my spot. I didn’t have a ton of time to think, which is always good, too. You just kind of let your body take over.”

The Avalanche disagreed with the penalty for too many men on the ice that led to Nashville’s power play in overtime.

“Our guys, we’re frustrated over it,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I still haven’t seen the too many men. I’ve already looked at the video.”

Late in the third period and with the Avalanche trailing by a goal, Makar drove from the blue line to the right circle, where he snapped a wrist shot over Saros’ glove for another highlight-reel goal for the young defenseman.

“We’ve had some slow starts lately and then we’ve kind of had to dig ourselves out of the hole,” Makar said. “Luckily our shovels have been pretty big lately and we’ve been able to score a few.”

The teams entered the third period with Nashville holding a 3-2 advantage. They traded power-play goals, with MacKinnon tying the game at 5:21 before Duchene answered at the 10-minute mark.

Jeannot scored the game’s first goal at 2:32 of the opening period and Kunin gave Nashville a 2-0 lead with 55.3 seconds remaining in the first.

Aube-Kubel halved the Nashville lead at 8:15 of the second, burying the rebound of Nazem Kadri’s shot. Burakovsky tied it less than four minutes later.

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