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Avs Beat Flames 7-3 In Home Opener

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) - Hockey came back to Denver on Monday night and the Colorado Avalanche looked like the same, solid team, getting a hat trick from relative newcomer Marek Svatos in a 7-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.

The Avalanche, thought by many to be among the losers in all the changes brought about by the new collective bargaining contract, didn't look any worse for all the changes.

Their stars, however, were different.

Svatos showed the promise the Avalanche saw in him when he was one of four rookies to make the opening-night roster in 2003. He hurt his shoulder early in the season, though, and played in only four games.

His third goal came midway through the third period and was greeted by one of the great traditions in hockey - hats raining down from the sellout crowd, the 440th straight for the Avalanche.

Rookie Wojtek Wolski, Colorado's first-round draft pick in 2004, scored his first NHL goal in the first period, taking a nice pass from John-Michael Liles and dropping it past Miikka Kiprusoff. Wolski had an assist later in the period on a wraparound goal by Brett McClean, another new face.

Patrice Brisebois had a goal for Colorado and Pierre Turgeon had an assist.

David Aebischer made 30 saves to get the win. He lost the shutout late in the second period when Dion Phaneuf flipped the puck in from the blue line and past the screened-out goalie in the second.

Calgary's second goal came shorthanded by Tony Amonte, and was held up after a lengthy review determined the net had not been kicked off the mooring before the puck crossed the line. Amonte scored again on a power play to make it 7-3.

Thus ended a bad opening week for the Flames. The 2004 Stanley Cup runners-up were thought to be winners over the layoff, bringing in Amonte and Darren McCarty - among others - and signing Jarome Iginla to a new, three-year contract.

But they opened the season by going 1-3 on a four-game road trip and getting outscored 13-6 by Detroit and the Avs in back-to-back games.

Iginla had an assist on the second goal to give him three points for the season. McCarty, an old nemesis of the Avs from his days with the Detroit Red Wings, got a game misconduct for slamming Turgeon to the boards at the end of the second period.

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