NHL: Matt Duchene, Predators score shootout win over Avalanche

Matt Duchene scored in regulation and added the only goal in the shootout, and the Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Denver on Thursday night.

Mattias Ekholm and Roman Josi had a goal and an assist each, Ryan Johansen also scored, Mikael Granlund had two assists and David Rittich stopped 42 shots for Nashville.

The Predators (45-29-7, 97 points) moved a point ahead of the Dallas Stars (45-30-6, 96 points) for the first wild card in the Western Conference. Both teams finish the regular season Friday, with Nashville playing at Arizona and Dallas hosting Anaheim.

Cale Makar, J.T. Compher, Artturi Lehkonen and Logan O’Connor scored goals and Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for the Avalanche.

Colorado (56-18-7, 119 points) lost the race for the Presidents’ Trophy but set a franchise high for points in a season.

Makar got the scoring started with a power-play goal 2:01 into the game, his 28th goal of the season.

The Avalanche struck again when Lehkonen deflected Josh Manson’s shot past Rittich at 6:46. It was his 19th goal of the season.

Duchene cut the lead in half when he beat Kuemper with a high shot at 11:46 of the first, his 43rd of the season.

O’Connor restored the two-goal lead on a strange play.

After a scrum for the puck in front the Predators’ net, O’Connor got control and took a shot that went off Josi’s body as nearly everyone was looking toward the other side of the net. However, the puck landed at Josi’s feet, O’Connor corralled it and put a sharp-angle shot into the net past Rittich at 16:59. It was his eighth of the season.

Nashville got within one when Johansen’s shot from the right circle beat Kuemper on the short side at 3:17 of the second period. It was his 25th of the season.

Compher answered later in the second when his snap shot in front of the crease beat Rittich at 9:24. It was his 18th goal of the season.

Josi made it 4-3 with a power-play goal at 16:28 of the second when he knocked the puck past Kuemper as he was battling Devon Toews. His 23rd goal was upheld upon review.

Ekholm tied it with his sixth goal at 4:11 of the third period.

–Field Level Media

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