Forsberg posts first hat trick since 1999

DENVER (AP) -- As one of the NHL's top scorers, Peter Forsberg
has always taken an odd approach: pass first, score second.

Forsberg had his fifth career three-goal game as the Colorado
Avalanche ended a two-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory over
the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night.

"I'd rather assist than score, but somehow there is no way
around it,'' Forsberg said.

Forsberg scored twice on the power play in recording his first
hat trick since March 3, 1999. Dean McAmmond had a goal and two
assists, Radim Vrbata and Alex Tanguay also scored and Milan Hejduk
had three assists for Colorado.

"Usually, I score every three games,'' Forsberg said. "With
Joe (Sakic) out, somebody has to pick up the slack.''

Forsberg's scoring abilities are no surprise to Colorado coach
Tony Granato.

"I don't think he's underrated as a scorer,'' Granato said.
"There are other parts of his game that people look to as being
his best, but he certainly is a good goal scorer.''

Zigmund Palffy scored his first goal in five games for Los
Angeles, which lost its fourth straight road game.

It was tied 1-1 after one period as the Kings outshot the
Avalanche 13-5 and dominated Colorado for all but the last minute
when Mikko Eloranta was called for a tripping penalty and the team
had a delay-of-game call to put it at a five-on-three disadvantage.

"It wasn't like we were yelling or swearing or screaming at
him,'' Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said of the critical second
penalty. "We were just trying to ask a question. Is the faceoff
there or where should the faceoff be? That's what I was asking.''

Vrbata gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at
3:47 of the second. With Michael Cammalleri off for hooking,
McAmmond pushed the puck to Reinprecht who carried the puck across
the blue line and set up Vrbata's one-timer with a cross ice pass.

McAmmond made it 3-1 by poking the puck between Potvin's pads at
14:26 after receiving a pass from Reinprecht.

Forsberg scored his second goal -- and second power-play goal of
the game -- at 2:42 of the third period, and made it 5-1 when he
sent a wrister over Potvin's shoulder at 6:26.

"Sometimes, they go in when you are feeling good,'' Forsberg
said. "When I crossed the blue line the last time, I made up my
mind I was going to shoot it because I thought I was hot.''

Tanguay capped the scoring at 15:14 off a pass from Skoula.

Palffy gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead at 4:17 with a power-play

Forsberg tied it at 19:35 when he sent a rebound into the net
after Felix Potvin had stopped Rob Blake's shot from the left

"We can't buy a break right now,'' Eloranta said. "We're
hurting with a lot of injuries, but no one is feeling badly for

Game notes
Mattias Norstrom's hip check sent Colorado's Vaclav
Nedorost into the dressing room a minute into the game with a hand
injury. Nedorost did not return. ... The Kings have been outscored
16-3 in their last four road games. ... Los Angeles returns home
for a three-game homestand. ... Colorado returned defensemen D.J.
Smith to its AHL affiliate Hershey for a conditioning assignment.
... The Avalanche, 40-21-11-0 over its previous four Decembers,
completed the month 6-3-1-2.