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Avs spoil Forsberg's return, beat Flyers in OT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Peter Forsberg was gracious enough to pick
up the bill when he dined with a group of his former Colorado
teammates.

The Avalanche returned the gesture by sticking Philadelphia with
a loss.

Alex Tanguay scored with 45.8 seconds left in overtime, helping
Colorado spoil Forsberg's first game against his former team in the
Avalanche's 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

"It was a little different, but as soon as the game started, I
don't really care," said Forsberg, who spent 10 years with his old
team. "I've never cared who I'm playing against. I just try and do
my best to win the game for us."

Forsberg couldn't pull one out for the Flyers this time, though
he sure made it interesting.

The Flyers forced overtime with a frantic final 2 minutes of
regulation, getting goals from Mike Knuble and Forsberg before
getting dominated in the extra period.

The Avalanche took nine of their 34 shots in OT and held the
Flyers without a shot.

Colorado continued playing some of its best hockey since the
days when Forsberg was winning Stanley Cups, an MVP award and
solidifying his reputation as the best player in the world before
he signed with the Flyers in August.

John-Michael Liles, Brett Clark and Antti Laaksonen also scored
for the Avalanche, who've won seven straight games for the first
time since Jan. 16-30, 2001.

Maybe the Flyers should have stayed on the road. Even with Rocky
himself, Sylvester Stallone, in a Flyers "06" jersey at the game
rallying the crowd, the Flyers' success couldn't carry over in
their first home game since Dec. 22.

"We had a lot to overcome, including Rocky," Avs coach Joel
Quenneville said.

The Flyers' loss followed their longest and most grueling road
trip ever, when they won more games and had more points than any
team in NHL history.

The Flyers went 8-2-1 on the road for 17 points, returning home
first in the league with 62. In the 1968-69 season, the Montreal
Canadiens went 6-1-1 for 13 points.

Forsberg has certainly lived up to expectations since signing a
two-year, $11.5 million contract with the Flyers after helping
Colorado win two Stanley Cup championships. The 2003 MVP leads the
team in points, and had an assist on Knuble's goal for his 800th
career point.

"I wanted to get it out of the way before we played Colorado,
but I didn't mind it," he said. "It feels a little weird to play
against the team you played for so long. On the other hand, you
have to be professional and move on."

First, Forsberg treated some Avalanche to a meal the night
before that was almost appreciated as much as the victory.

"Any free meal is a good meal, you know?" center Joe Sakic
said.

Philadelphia rallied on Knuble's 21st goal with 2:36 left in the
third. Then Forsberg followed 1 minute, 24 seconds later with his
15th goal of the season and the sold-out crowd erupted.

David Aebischer stopped 27 shots and won his sixth straight
start for Colorado.

"We're playing well and we're playing with confidence and those
two things are really important," he said.

The Avalanche went ahead 1-0 late in the first period on Liles'
power-play goal, his 10th of the year.

Only 21 seconds into the second period, Clark slid one past
Antero Niittymaki for his fourth goal of the year. Laaksonen
knocked in a loose puck early in the third for a 3-1 lead.

Kim Johnsson made it 2-1 in the second on a slap shot from
straight in front of the net. The power-play goal was his fifth,
with an assist from Simon Gagne. Gagne's three assists gave him 300
career points.

The Flyers began their road trip on Dec. 23 in Pittsburgh. They
started 7-0-1 before losing 3-0 to New Jersey on Monday night.
After beating Chicago on Wednesday, the Flyers completed the trip
with a 6-3 loss to Detroit on Thursday night.

Game notes
The Flyers reassigned LW Ben Eager to their American Hockey
League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms. Eager had three goals
and five assists for eight points and 18 penalty minutes in 20
games for the Flyers this season. ... The Flyers honored the 1975
Stanley Cup champs, the first team to defeat the Central Red Army
hockey team on Jan. 11, 1976. ... Stallone is in town filming
"Rocky Balboa." Stallone and his brother, Frank, were in the
locker room.