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Associated Press
11/15/2006 10:35:51 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Even the challenge of playing against a team with a new coach didn't distract the Nashville Predators.

David Legwand had two goals and an assist and the Predators beat Columbus 5-4 Wednesday night to ruin Gary Agnew's first NHL game as coach of the Blue Jackets.

''We didn't know what to expect coming in here with the coaching change,'' said Legwand of his Predators, winners in seven of eight. ''We knew they were going to come out fired up and pretty excited so we had to deal with that, too.''

Agnew replaced Gerard Gallant, who was fired Monday, one day after a shutout loss dropped the NHL's lowest-scoring team into last place in the Central Division.

''I knew there would be butterflies during the national anthem,'' said Agnew, who joined the Blue Jackets as an assistant in the offseason after coaching their top affiliate for six seasons.

J.P. Dumont, Vernon Fiddler - a short-handed goal - and Scott Nichol also scored for Nashville, which has won eight of nine road games. Paul Kariya added two assists.

Rick Nash scored twice and Fredrik Modin had a goal and an assist for Columbus, which has lost four of five. Jason Chimera also scored for the Blue Jackets.

Down 3-2 early in the third period, Nash and Modin scored twice in a 1:50 span to make it 4-3 at 9:12.

''We played a sound team and found a way to get a lead,'' Columbus captain Adam Foote said. ''We battled hard. We just can't lose that lead.''

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