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Avalanche/Predators Notebook

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Top Guns Get Points Late

Each of the Avalanche’s top five scorers recorded a point during the Colorado Avalanche’s 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night at Pepsi Center.

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The Avs found themselves in a 3-0 hole late in the game, but Paul Stastny, the Avs’ second-leading scorer on the season with 57 points, netted his 22nd goal of the season with 6:25 remaining in the contest to cut the deficit to a pair. Milan Hejduk (third on the club with 53 points) and Matt Duchene (first with 62 points) drew the assists on the play.

David Jones then picked up his 26th goal (and 42nd point) when he redirected a John-Michael Liles (44 points) centering attempt past Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne with 1:02 to play.

But it was too little too late, as Colorado failed to completely close the gap against the Predators.

With his assist, Duchene extended his recent hot streak. The second-year center has now recorded points in eight of his last nine games, totaling 12 points (6g/6a) during that span.

Individual accomplishments aside, Duchene and his teammates were not happy with the way they played for most of the evening. That's especially true of the second period, during which the Predators outshot the Avs by an 18-5 margin.

“I think we played probably 20 good minutes," said Duchene. "The first 10 and last 10, so you’re not going to win like that. The second was awful, the end of the first was okay, and the beginning of the third was alright, but you got to string together the better part of 60 minutes to win games.”

Gaunce Back In
The Avalanche recalled Cameron Gaunce from the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday morning and the defenseman suited up in his 11th NHL game tonight against the Predators.

The rookie was summoned from the American Hockey League because the Avalanche only had five healthy defensemen on its roster. Captain Adam Foote is still considered day-to-day with a leg injury, while fellow blueliner Ryan Wilson is also day-to-day with a knee ailment.

Gaunce suffered a minor hand injury himself midway through the second period, but returned for the start of the final frame.

Following today’s morning skate, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco confirmed that Foote will not travel with the team to Phoenix for Friday’s contest. A return date for the veteran is still up in the air.

“We’ll see. I know he’s out this weekend,” said Sacco. “We’ll know more after this weekend.”

Very Little Rest
The Avalanche didn’t have any time to sit back and relax after tonight’s game. Instead, the Avs hopped onto a flight bound for Arizona, where they will take on the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night in the second half of a back-to-back set.

Staying busy is something the Avalanche should get used to, because the club has a full schedule down the stretch. Including tonight’s game, Colorado plays seven times in 11 days to close out the season, including a current stretch of four games in six days.
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