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Chris Mason makes 42 saves to help Predators blank Avalanche 1-0

Chris Mason made a career-high 42 saves and Scottie Upshall scored his second goal of the season to lead the Predators to a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.

Mason, Nashville's backup goalie, improved to 3-1-0 with his fourth career shutout and his first since April 11 at St. Louis. His previous high for saves in a game was 38, also against Colorado, on April 4, 2004.

"I felt good right off the bat," Mason said. "I'm used to adjusting, spot-playing every couple of weeks. It's just something you have to prepare yourself for."

Nashville improved to 10-4-1 with seven of its victories - including five of its last seven - by a single goal. Prior to Saturday, only three teams (Buffalo, Dallas and New Jersey) had more wins by one goal.

Upshall scored at 9:35 of the first period when his shot from the left wing beat Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore to the glove side.

Theodore made 30 saves but lost for the first time in five appearances, a stretch which dated back to Oct. 21.

"It was a good game on both sides," Theodore said. "The goal was kind of a knuckleball. ... We played well defensively, we just couldn't get that goal."

Colorado averaged four goals per game in its previous eight but was shut out for the first time since a 2-0 loss at Calgary on April 13.

The Avalanche came in fifth in the NHL in average goals per game (3.4) and second in shots. They surpassed their shot average by eight and topped 40 for the fourth time.

Among their best scoring chances were two a little more than one minute apart in the second period. At 5:19, Tyler Arnason got to the crease and directed a pass from behind the net right on, but Mason was there. Then Milan Hejduk was stopped on a point-blank shot at 6:40.

"With this number of shots (and) the chances we had ... we're going to score most nights," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said.

Nashville was whistled for three penalties in a span of 1:01 about three minutes into the game, but Colorado failed to take advantage. The Avalanche did not get another power-play opportunity until 1:54 into the third period, and finished 0-for-7 on the power play.

"Our best penalty-killer was our goaltender," Nashville right wing Steve Sullivan said. "A lot of credit goes to Chris Mason."

Notes: Colorado, which last played Tuesday at home, warmed up in its practice uniforms because its game sweaters did not arrive with the team Friday. The equipment was flown in and made it to the arena in time for the game. ... The Predators were at home for the first time since Oct. 26 and improved to 3-1-1 at Gaylord Entertainment Center. ... Nashville recalled defenceman Greg Zanon prior to the contest following a two-game conditioning assignment with Milwaukee of the AHL. He logged 18:43 of ice time and had two shots on goal. ... Avalanche centre Joe Sakic failed to register a point for just the third time in 12 games and remained 15th in career assists, one behind Stan Mikita (926). ... For the first time this season Nashville has gone consecutive games without a power-play goal.


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