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Avs Edge Columbus 3-2 In Shootout

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) -- Though goaltender David Aebischer had few save opportunities, the ones he made were huge.

Aebischer stoned a breakaway attempt in overtime and three-of-four attempts in the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche maintained its dominance over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, winning 3-2. In all, he made only 19 saves.

Jaroslov Balastik had the Blue Jackets' lone goal in the shootout. Aebischer easily stopped David Vyborny, Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev in succession.

"The first one was a pretty good shot, the next two I think I moved pretty well," Aebischer said. "The third one I guess he lost the puck."

Colorado coach Joel Quenneville was pleased.

"He won it tonight and made several key stops at the right time," Quenneville said. "It was nice to see him continue in the right direction, he was instrumental in the win."

Alex Tanguay and Marek Svatos scored shootout goals for Colorado. The pair also accounted for both Colorado goals in regulation, and the Avalanche won their fourth straight.

Patrice Brisebois had two assists for the Avalanche, 16-0-1-1 all-time against Columbus.

"It's a goalie I played with in juniors," Tanguay said of Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire. "I know he moves his legs really well side to side."

Svatos scored with a backhander past Leclaire, who had 46 saves. Leclaire watched Joe Sakic's shot go harmlessly off the post and stopped Milan Hejduk's shot before Tanguay beat him with a backhander to improve Colorado to 2-3 in shootouts.

"Pascal was real good and had to be real good to come in here and play a Colorado team that had 48 shots on him," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. "He had to make some big saves, and he got us a big point."

Sergei Fedorov and Nash had the regulation goals for Columbus, losers of three straight.

Nash had the best chance to win the game in overtime. Breaking in all alone, Aebischer stopped Nash's backhand attempt with his left pad with 3:12 left in OT.

The Avalanche outshot Columbus 16-3 in the first period and produced two power play goals to lead 2-0. Colorado had multiple quality chances including point blank chances seconds apart early in the game that Leclaire stopped with his pads.

Colorado finally broke through when Tanguay flipped a rebound past Leclaire with Jody Shelley off for slashing. It was Tanguay's 17th goal of the year.

Brett McLean set up Colorado's second goal with a cross ice pass to Svatos positioned in the lower left circle for a one-timer.

Columbus tightened its defense and was outshot 12-7 in the second period. Fedorov helped the Blue Jackets close the gap to 2-1 with a goal at 9:31. Aebischer was bowled over by Nash after stopping his shot and Fedorov snapped a shot into the net for his second goal of the year.

Leclaire made saves on shots by Ian Laperriere and Sakic after turnovers early in the third period. On the other end, the Blue Jackets tied the game at 2 on a goal by Nash at 7:19. Nikolai Zherdev's centering pass deflected off Hejduk's left skate right to Nash, who slapped it past Aebischer.

"This is a good time for me," Aebischer said. "This is the stretch I've been waiting for."


Colorado has won four straight games, matching its season long winning streak set Oct. 25-Nov. 3 ... The Avalanche improved to 16-0-1-1 in 18 all-time games against the Blue Jackets, including a perfect 9-0-0 mark vs. Columbus at home ... The Avs are now 2-3 in shootouts, while the Blue Jackets are 3-2...The Avs have won each of their last two shootouts after dropping their first three...Today was Colorado's first shootout win on home ice ... The Avalanche recorded a season high 48 shots-on-goal today...It's Colorado's most shots since notching 51 on Nov. 12, 2002, also against Columbus here at Pepsi Center (5-4 win) ... David Aebischer participated in his first shootout and recorded his first shootout win ... Aebischer is now 3-0 in his last three starts, stopping 84 of 88 shots (.955 save pct.) ... Aebischer improves to 6-0 in six career starts against the Blue Jackets, allowing just six goals total in the six games ... Alex Tanguay extended his point streak to five games (5g 3a) ... Patrice Brisebois notched a season high two assists today...He also matched his season best of two points set Oct. 21 at Edmonton ... The Avalanche scored twice in the first period today and continues to lead the NHL with 62 first-period goals ... Rick Nash has now scored a goal in four straight games (five total).


David Aebischer: I think the first period was really tough to get into a rhythm. I just tried to stay as focused as I could. I think it helped me in the overtime and shootout. Tonight the game could have been decided after two period if it wasn't for (Pascal) Leclaire who played really well. But that's what we want. We played hard for 60 to 65 minutes and we deserved the two points tonight."

Alex Tanguay: On The Standings... "We needed two points. We need to get higher in the rankings and you can't afford to give points to the team below you. Certainly, we did not want to give them points but we gave them one. But we'll take the two (points)." On Leclaire... "He's the goalie I played with in juniors in Halifax. So I pretty much know him. He moves his legs really well side-to-side." On His Shootout Goal... "I was just looking for a quick five-hole shot and fortunately the puck went in."

Marek Svatos: On His First Period Goal... "It was kind of easy for me because I got a great pass and I just chipped it in the side of the net. It was a great play by (Brett) McLean." On Shootout Pressure... "There's always pressure when you go into a shootout. I just tried to score and fortunately I did. And at the end, it was a great goal by (Alex) Tanguay. It was a great effort by the whole team."

Rick Nash: "We've never won here before or even tied a game so to even come out with a point, especially after being down two goals. It was a big point. We didn't play very well the first period. We came out flat and they played really well. But I think the last half of the game we took it to them."

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