Series (Game 1 of 4)

Colorado leads 3-0

Game 1: Tuesday, November 12th
Blue Jackets4Final
Game 2: Thursday, January 23rd
Blue Jackets0Final
Game 3: Tuesday, January 28th
Blue Jackets2
Game 4: Thursday, March 13th
Blue Jackets1

Blue Jackets 4

(7-6-1, 16 pts)

Avalanche 5

(5-4-3, 17 pts)

9:00 PM ET, November 12, 2002

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
CBJ 1 1 24
COL 1 2 25

M. Hejduk (Avalanche - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Sillinger (Blue Jackets - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

P. Forsberg (Avalanche - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Avs pepper Jackets' Denis with 51 shots

DENVER (AP) -- That sound blowing out of Denver is a collective sigh of relief by the Colorado Avalanche.

Milan Hejduk

The Avalanche continued to struggle on special teams, survived a late goal and fought off a flurry of shots in the final six minutes, but somehow found a way to finally end its worst home start.

Milan Hejduk scored two goals, and Peter Forsberg had a goal and an assist as Colorado ended its home winless streak at eight games with a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

"Certainly it was not a fun week for anyone, starting with our fans, for us, the management, the players,'' Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "We were not happy with where we were at and we are still not happy with where we are at, but tonight it's two points.''

All it took was 51 shots, an end to Steven Reinprecht's scoring slump and some great saves by Patrick Roy down the stretch. Colorado, the last NHL team to win at home, improved to 1-4-3-1 at home and salvaged one win in its five-game homestand (1-3-0-1).

"I think everyone really wanted this tonight,'' said Forsberg, who has two goals and eight assists the past 10 games.

It took nearly everything the Avalanche had to pull it out.

Columbus tied it at 3-all 3:47 into the second on Geoff Sanderson's second goal, the ninth power-play goal allowed by Colorado on its homestand. Forsberg answered 32 seconds later with his sixth of the season, firing a wrist shot through Columbus defenseman Derrick Walser's legs and over goalie Marc Denis' shoulder.

Reinprecht made it 5-3 with 8:29 left, firing a hard slap shot from between the circles for his first of the season. He also had an assist on Hejduk's first goal, just his second point in 10 games.

"Tonight, Rhino had his best game of the season for us, and that's huge because we need Rhino,'' Hartley said.

Colorado seemed to have control at that point, but Jaroslav Spacek made things tense by beating Roy from just inside the blue line with 5:58 left. But Roy made up for it with a flurry of saves down the stretch, including several after Columbus pulled Denis for the final 1 minutes.

"The good news is we showed lots of resiliency,'' said Denis, who dropped to 0-5 against his former team. "We were down a few times, but came back and made it a game.''

The loss dropped Columbus to 0-9 against the Avalanche and marked the first time in six games the Blue Jackets failed to earn a point.

Columbus had seven penalties in the first two periods after setting a team record with 66 penalty minutes against the New York Rangers on Saturday night. It wasn't until the Blue Jackets stayed out of the box that they were able to put much pressure on Colorado.

"This was a difficult game for us because until the third period we couldn't play even up,'' Columbus coach Jim Clark said. "Once we got into even-up hockey, like we did in the third period, it was a pretty interesting period.''

Columbus survived the penalties because Colorado's power play continued to fizzle.

The Avalanche failed on three power plays in the first period, allowing a shorthanded goal by Mike Sillinger on the third one.

Hejduk tied it with 26 seconds left by poking in his own rebound, but Colorado opened the second period with consecutive penalties.

Sanderson took advantage on the second one, one-timing a cross from Andrew Cassels 5:04 in to put the Blue Jackets up 2-1.

Colorado's Radim Vrbata answered 53 seconds later, punching in his third goal in four games from the slot after Denis blocked two shots.

The Avalanche finally broke through on the power play with Hejduk's second goal late in the second, but it took a two-man advantage to do it.

Forsberg, hit in the face with Tyler Wright's stick on the second penalty, set up the goal with a pass through the crease. Hejduk gathered the puck and slipped it past Denis to put Colorado up 3-2 with 5:09 left.

It was Hejduk's seventh goal of the season and just the second power-play goal in three games for the Avalanche (2-for-16).

Game notes

Colorado LW Dean McAmmond started skating this week for the first time since being traded from Calgary before the season. He has been bothered by lower back problems. ... Columbus C Espen Knutsen missed his fourth straight game with a sore groin. ... The crowd got a laugh when Columbus'' Grant Marshall kissed Sillinger on the helmet after the two were shown on Colorado's "Kiss Cam'' on the scoreboard. ... Cassels extended his points streak to six games. ... Roy needs 50 minutes to tie Terry Sawchuck's NHL record for minutes played by a goalie (57,194).

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press