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Backup goalie makes 31 saves

1/9/2004

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Nashville Predators finally found
someone other than Tomas Vokoun who can win a game in goal.

Jason York scored at 1:12 in overtime, and backup goaltender
Chris Mason stopped 31 shots for his first career victory to help
Nashville beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 Thursday night.

Mason is just the third goalie in the franchise's six-year
history to win a game for Nashville, and he did it in his 12th NHL
appearance. He said he was overjoyed.

"I thought it was going to slip away," Mason said.
"Unbelievable, really nervous. They have an All-Star team."

York also had an assist. Both Simon Gamache and Andrew
Hutchinson scored their first NHL goals, and Greg Johnson added a
goal and an assist for Nashville, which beat Colorado at home for
the first time since Dec. 26, 2000.

Mason started only because Vokoun came down with the flu
Wednesday night after starting the last 21 games. Mason faced a
Colorado team that had won four straight and five of its last seven
and came in as the NHL's best road team.

He nearly got the victory in regulation, but Colorado forced
overtime when York was called for slashing with 43 seconds left.
Paul Kariya scored his fifth goal on a power play when he poked the
puck under Mason's right leg off a rebound of a shot by Joe Sakic.

York responded with his second goal this season as the Predators
snapped a two-game losing skid.

"The shot went in," Colorado goalie David Aebischer said. "I
should've stopped that one no question. Surprised me? Not really. I
just should've stopped it."

The Avalanche outshot Nashville 34-23, but Mason shut down
Colorado after giving up a short-handed goal to Peter Forsberg and
a power-play goal to Sakic in the first. Milan Hejduk added two
assists, and Alex Tanguay and Adam Foote had an assist apiece.

"Chris was awesome for keeping it 2-0," York said. "It could
have been five after the first. He gave us a chance to win
tonight."

Mason's best save came during a four-on-four at 9:15 in the
third as he stopped first a shot from Teemu Selanne with his stick,
then smothered the rebound shot by Steve Konowalchuk.

Hutchinson put Nashville up 3-2 as he took the puck, skated
behind the goal and put a backhander through Aebischer's legs for
the 3-2 lead. Aebischer was coming off his third shutout of the
season and had allowed only three goals in his last three games.

The Avalanche tried to rally but couldn't get the puck past
Mason. He had a stick save off a shot by Rob Blake -- voted to his
fourth All-Star start in five seasons earlier Thursday -- then he
gloved a backhander by Tanguay with 2:47 remaining.

"We didn't work hard enough to have one point the way we
played," Forsberg said. "We should have zero points."

Nashville evened the score with two goals in the second despite
taking only four shots. Gamache scored at 11:00, and Johnson tied
the game with his eighth this season on a short-handed breakaway as
he grabbed the puck near the blue line and easily beat Aebischer at
15:39.

Game notes
Mike Dunham, now with the New York Rangers, and Vokoun are
the only other goalies to win games for Nashville. ... Forsberg
extended his points streak to four games, and he has 10 during that
stretch. ... Foote has four assists in three games. ... Nashville
has seven short-handed goals this season, including six in the last
22 games. ... Vokoun has missed only three of Nashville's 41 games
this season. ... Nashville had scored just one goal in the past two
games. ... This was Gamache's 10th NHL game, while it was the sixth
for Hutchinson.