Final OT

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Colorado leads 4-0

Game 1: Monday, November 25th
Game 2: Monday, February 17th
Game 3: Sunday, March 2nd
Game 4: Saturday, March 22nd

Avalanche 3

(32-15-7, 82 pts)

Blackhawks 2

(24-27-5, 63 pts)

8:30 PM ET, March 2, 2003

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 OT T
COL 1 0 1 13
CHI 0 1 1 02

A. Tanguay (Avalanche - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Zhamnov (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Sakic (Avalanche - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

It's now 13 victories in 16 games for Avalanche

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche are still finding ways to win.

Dan Hinote

Colorado's Dan Hinote, left, stops the puck with his hand while Chicago's Steve McCarthy gets ready to make things even more difficult.

Alex Tanguay scored 3:38 into overtime as the Avalanche defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Sunday night for their 13th victory in 16 games.

Greg de Vries and Peter Forsberg assisted on the game-winning goal. After a pass from Forsberg, de Vries skated into the slot and fed Tanguay in the far circle. The left-handed Tanguay faked goalie Jocelyn Thibault, skated across the crease and scored a backhanded shot into an empty net.

''It was a nice play, three-on-two, and Peter made a pass to de Vries,'' Tanguay said. ''Both Ds kind of went to him and he just passed it over. The goalie was sliding across as he passed it and I just went back the other way.

''There are a lot of things going right for us,'' Tanguay said. ''We expect to win every hockey game.''

Alex Zhamnov scored two goals for Chicago, tying the score each time.

Zhamnov's second made it 2-2 with three seconds left. Kyle Calder picked up the rebound of Nathan Dempsey's slap shot and fed Zhamnov at the top of the crease for the goal.

Zhamnov's short-handed goal at 7:29 of the second made it 1-1. Steve Sullivan picked up a loose puck at the half-boards and fed Zhamnov in the high slot for a one-timer.

After taking criticism earlier in the season for always looking to pass, the Blackhawks' captain has started to shoot more and has three goals in two games. Chicago has earned points in its past two games after losing five consecutive in regulation.

''I will continue to shoot the puck more,'' Zhamnov said. ''Especially on the power play and at the half-boards.''

Chicago has dropped seven in a row and has just one victory in 11 games (1-9-0-1).

''That's probably right now the best team in the league,'' Zhamnov said of Colorado. ''I think we played great.''

Joe Sakic scored at 15:07 of the third period to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead. De Vries carried the puck across the blue line and fed Sakic in the far circle. The Colorado captain's shot banked off Chicago defenseman Lyle Odelein and slid inside the near post.

''It hit Odie and then the inside of the post,'' Thibault said. ''It was going about three feet wide.''

David Aebischer stopped 39 shots, and Milan Hejduk scored a first-period, power-play goal for Colorado. Aebischer, Patrick Roy's backup, is 4-1 in his last five starts and 7-9 this season.

Thibault made 26 saves and faced only two shots in the second period.

Hejduk scored his 39th goal during a power play at 16:34 of the first period. Thibault stopped Hejduk's hard shot from the far circle, but the right wing gathered his rebound and scored from eight feet.

Colorado has scored 31 power-play goals in its last 31 games, climbing to seventh overall after being ranked 23rd on Dec. 6.

''For a while there it was just Alex, Peter and Milan,'' Colorado coach Tony Granato said. ''Now that Joe is back we have another weapon to use.''

Chicago failed to score on six power-play chances. The Blackhawks' power-play unit is last in the league with 29 goals in 258 opportunities.

Despite its recent struggles, Chicago remains five points behind Edmonton and the eighth playoff spot in the West.

''Were not done yet,'' Zhamnov said. ''Lots of hockey left. We still have a chance, a good chance.''

Game notes

Chicago left wing Eric Daze missed his third consecutive game due to an ankle infection. ... Hejduk is two goals shy of matching a career high (41). ... Colorado scored a power-play goal in nine consecutive games. ... Colorado has scored the first goal in 18 of 21 games. ... The Blackhawks are one of three teams (New Jersey and Phoenix) without a 20-goal scorer. ... Zhamnov's first goal was Chicago's first at home since Daze's second-period goal against Phoenix on Feb. 20, a span of 175 minutes. ... Colorado has allowed six short-handed goals.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press