Series (Game 2 of 2)

Colorado leads 2-0

Game 1: Thursday, January 30th
Game 2: Sunday, February 23rd

Rangers 1

(25-31-2, 59 pts)

Avalanche 4

(29-15-6, 75 pts)

8:30 PM ET, February 23, 2003

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
NYR 1 0 01
COL 2 2 04

P. Roy (Avalanche - G): Saves: 37, Save Pct.: .974

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

P. Forsberg (Avalanche - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Colorado top line again overpowers an opponent

DENVER (AP) -- Milan Hejduk hasn't felt this good since the Colorado Avalanche won the 2001 Stanley Cup.

Hejduk scored twice to extend his goal streak to seven games, and Patrick Roy stopped 37 shots as the Colorado Avalanche beat the New York Rangers 4-1 Sunday night.

Hejduk had just 21 goals last season -- 20 fewer than in 2000-01 -- and missed the final 20 games of the regular season with an abdominal strain.

This season, he is third in the league with 36 goals, including 11 the past nine games. Hejduk's career-high goal streak ties Columbus' Geoff Sanderson for longest in the NHL this season.

''When we won the Cup a couple of years ago, I had pretty much a similar feeling. This is even better,'' Hejduk said.

Hejduk isn't the only Avalanche player feeling good.

Colorado's first line of Hejduk, Peter Forsberg and Alex Tanguay combined for three goals and three assists, and has at least one point in 15 consecutive games.

Tanguay had a goal to extend his point streak to 10 games, and Forsberg had three assists, giving him 17 points in nine games. The trio has 26 goals and 41 assists in 15 games. Colorado is 12-1-1-1 in that span and has won a season-high six consecutive at home.

''That line, yeah, you expect them to score because they expect themselves to score,'' Colorado coach Tony Granato said.

Roy allowed a goal on a rebound late in the first period, but made up for it with several spectacular saves in the final two periods to continue his late-season resurgence.

He was particularly strong during a New York power play midway through the second, and made three saves in a span of about five seconds in the third.

Roy has won eight of nine starts and is unbeaten in 12 of 13 after opening the season 7-6-8.

''We had a lot of chances to score on Patrick,'' Rangers coach Glen Sather said. ''He made some great saves on the power plays we had. He is the best goalie. That is the reason why.''

New York had a 38-24 advantage in shots -- 18-10 in the third period -- but lost one goal in the first period after a video replay and had another shot bounce away after hitting the corner of the crossbar.

The Rangers have lost three of five to drop six points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

New York's Eric Lindros opened the scoring with 4:40 left in the first, punching in a rebound off a missed shot by Matthew Barnaby for his 18th of the season.

The lead didn't last long.

Hejduk evened it 23 seconds later with a one-timer from behind New York's Pavel Bure. Rob Blake set up the goal with a pass through the crease from the right, and Hejduk fought through Bure to beat Mike Dunham to the stick side.

''My goal was a beautiful pass from Blake. I think anyone could have scored that goal,'' Hejduk said.

New York's Dan LaCouture scored with 2:54 left in the first, but the puck slipped under the goal after New York's Darius Kasparaitis and Colorado's Jeff Shantz collided at the net.

The officials waved off the goal after a video replay, ruling the goal came off its moorings before the shot.

''The video guy can't make that call. The referee has to make the call,'' Sather said. ''That really turned the game.''

Colorado wound up taking the 2-1 lead with 48 seconds left when Derek Morris one-timed a pass from Steven Reinprecht on a power play.

Hejduk made it 3-1 at 11:45 of the second, scoring on a wrist shot from the right circle that seemed to catch Dunham offguard.

Tanguay put the Avalanche up three with 2:30 left in the second, flipping in a backhand off a rebound for his 15th of the season.

Dunham allowed four goals on the first 14 shots he faced after stopping 32 in a 6-2 victory over Anaheim on Friday.

Game notes

Colorado center Joe Sakic expects to be back in the lineup Tuesday against Edmonton after missing 15 games with a broken foot. ... New York ends a six-game road trip against New Jersey on Tuesday. The Rangers are 2-3 on the trip. ... Colorado's Mike Keane went to the locker room early in the second after Dale Purinton's stick hit him in the face, but he returned a few minutes later. ... New York became just the third team in 16 games to score against Colorado in the first period, joining Detroit and the New York Islanders.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press