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Avalanche/Sharks Notebook

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
On Monday night, it was the Avalanche’s success on the power play that led to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, as Chris Stewart scored on each of the Avalanche’s two power-play chances.

On Thursday night it was the San Jose Sharks’ power play that was the difference, as Joe Pavelski netted a pair of power-play goals in the middle frame – both assisted by Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau – to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead en route to an eventual 4-2 victory.

The Avs didn’t receive their first power-play until the 13:22 mark of the third period when Dan Boyle was whistled for interference. Only 47 seconds later, Milan Hejduk scored his second goal of the season to bring the Avs within a goal at 3-2.

San Jose’s Logan Couture added a late empty-net goal when Douglas Murray’s clearing attempt struck a linesman and came to rest right near the Sharks forward instead of heading toward the Avalanche end. Couture corralled the loose puck and sent it into the Avs’ net to make it a 4-2 final.

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Liles Keeps Rolling
Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles kept his season-opening point streak alive by gaining the secondary assist on Hejduk’s power-play goal in the third period, marking his seventh straight game with an assist/point (0g/9a). With the helper, Liles set a new franchise record for the longest assist streak to begin a season, breaking a tie with Paul Stastny (six straight games with an assist in 2008-09).

In addition, Liles’ seven-game point streak is now the longest by an Avalanche/Nordiques defender to open a season. Liles was previously tied with Sandis Ozolinsh (six-game point streak to open the 1996-97 campaign).

“You have to take something from that, obviously. It’s nice to be in the company of guys like Stastny and Ozolinsh,” said Liles. “Bottom line is that it’s unfortunate that we lost tonight but as far as the assists go, getting the puck to guys who are scoring a lot of goals. It’s not the toughest thing to do when you’re getting the puck to those guys, because those guys are making plays.”

Foote Injured
The Avalanche’s injury list got a little longer during the first period of tonight’s game, as captain Adam Foote suffered a head injury and didn’t return to the contest thereafter. Foote saw 6:58 of ice time on nine shifts before leaving the game.  There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury.

Lineup Notes
With winger David Jones sidelined due to a bruised forearm suffered Monday night against the Rangers, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco elected to suit up seven defensemen and 11 forwards to start the game, as opposed to the more traditional six defensemen and 12 forwards. It was the second consecutive game that Sacco employed the strategy, although he said following Thursday’s pre-game skate that it was “not a long-term option.”

Brandon Yip, who didn’t play in the Avalanche’s previous two games due to a groin injury, returned to the lineup tonight.

The Avalanche recalled forward David Van Der Gulik from the Lake Erie Monsters earlier in the day, but the Boston University product did not play in tonight’s contest. The Avalanche had reassigned forward Mark Olver to Lake Erie on Thursday.
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