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The Forsberg line has 19 goals, 33 assists in 12 games

2/16/2003

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado's top line is going so well that the trio
is even scoring on missed shots.

Peter Forsberg, Alex Tanguay and Milan Hejduk combined for two
goals and six assists as the Avalanche held on to beat the
Minnesota Wild 3-2 Saturday night.

''They make plays night after night,'' Avalanche coach Tony
Granato said. ''That is three skilled players, competing and doing
whatever it takes to help the team. They continued through
tonight.''

The Forsberg line has arguably been the best in hockey the past
month. It has 19 goals and 33 assists the past 12 games, and has
scored or assisted on Colorado's last seven goals.

Against Minnesota, Tanguay had a goal and two assists to extend
his point streak to six games. Hejduk had his sixth goal in five
games -- on a near whiff -- and assisted on Tanguay's goal. Forsberg
had three assists to extend his point streak to five games.

''We are working hard and that is the key,'' said Forsberg, who
has 20 points in 11 games. ''Tonight, we knew it was a big game and
that we had to come out and play hard.''

Hejduk scored for the third consecutive game with 2:03 left in the
first on a missed shot that bounced in off Minnesota's Willie
Mitchell.

Hejduk lost Antti Laaksonen with a move near the top of the left
circle during a power play, then shot from near the faceoff dot.
The puck rolled to the side of his stick as he let it go, but it
still bounced off Mitchell's shin past Manny Fernandez's glove
side.

''That wasn't intentional. I missed it,'' said Hejduk, whose
team-leading 31st goal allowed Colorado to score first for the 12th
consecutive game.

Tanguay made it 2-0 just 2:33 into the second, punching in his
own rebound from the slot. Forsberg set up Tanguay's 13th from
behind the net, slipping a pass out front as he fell to the ice.

Adam Foote made it 3-0 with 5:56 left in the second, firing a
shot from near the blue line. Tanguay and Forsberg each had an
assist.

''Forsberg is creating so much out there,'' said Fernandez, who
made his third start after missing 13 games with a knee injury.
''He's opening up the whole ice for the other two.''

Colorado improved to 9-0-2-1 its last 12 games and extended its
home-unbeaten streak to six (5-0-1). The Avalanche have earned at
least one point in every game since a 4-2 loss to Detroit on Jan.
16.

This one wasn't easy.

Minnesota scored two goals in the first 3:39 of the third and
outshot the Avalanche 12-4 in the final period. But the Wild
weren't able to complete the comeback. Minnesota had three shots
that hit posts -- two in the third.

''I felt coming back in the third period, the guys were just
skating and moving the puck,'' said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire,
whose team has lost consecutive games for the first time since a
three-game skid from Jan. 4-8. ''Instead of tying, we hit the
pipes.''

Minnesota was playing its fifth game in seven days and it showed
early. The Wild were sluggish at times and gave the Avalanche
plenty of good scoring chances.

It didn't take the Wild long to get back in it.

After allowing three goals in two periods, Minnesota was much
more aggressive at the start of the third and spent most of the
period in Colorado's zone.

Jim Dowd cut the lead to two 1:15 in when he redirected a shot
by Brad Bombardir, then Pascal Dupuis made it 3-2 just 2:24 later
with a hard shot from the left circle.

Bombardir nearly tied it with five minutes left, but his shot
from the left circle hit the right post.

''I thought we got unlucky a couple of times,'' Fernandez said.
''We hit three good posts and they got a break in the first. We
trade one of those for one of theirs and we've got a game.''

Colorado's Patrick Roy stopped 34 shots for his fifth victory in six
starts. He is 7-1-2 his last 10 starts.

Game notes
Colorado's five-game home winning streak is its first since
Nov. 11-Dec. 3, 2001. ... Colorado center Joe Sakic, who has missed 10
games with a broken foot, is expected to travel with the Avalanche
on a three-game road trip that begins Monday in Chicago. Colorado
is (16-1-2-1) without its captain. ... Wild defenseman Andrei Zyuzin did not
play after bruising his jaw against Phoenix. ... Both teams have
just one Northwest Division game left. Colorado plays Edmonton on
Feb. 25, while Minnesota wraps up with Calgary on March 31. ...
Colorado defenseman Martin Skoula played his 300th NHL game.