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Avs End Homestand With 3-2 Win Over Wild

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) - Milan Hejduk broke out of a slump with a goal and an assist, and David Aebischer set the Colorado Avalanche record for wins in January by defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 Tuesday night.

Hejduk had a goal and an assist in snapping out of a funk in which he had failed to net a goal in 11 of his previous 12 games. Aebischer finished the month 9-1-1, snapping Patrick Roy's mark of eight set in 2001.

The Avs took advantage of Daniel Tjarnqvist's hooking penalty in the second period when Hejduk scored a power-play goal at 13:29 to take a 2-1 lead. Hejduk put the puck over Manny Fernandez's right shoulder after taking a pass at top of the crease from Alex Tanguay for his 14th goal this season.

Hejduk's points were his first since Jan. 17 against Toronto.

Patrice Brisebois added the winning goal at 2:45 of the third period with a shot from the left point that went between Fernandez's legs. It was Brisebois' eighth goal of the season and first since Jan. 9.

Tanguay had tied it at 1 at 1:24 of the second period, with the teams skating 4-on-4. He took a pass from Hejduk from across the ice, then put the puck past Fernandez's glove from the left circle.

Tanguay's goal helped Colorado snap out of a sluggish start when the Wild looked like the more energetic team despite coming off a 5-4 loss at home Monday against Detroit.

Brian Rolston needed just 1:23 to score the Wild's only goal. Rolston got his own deflection near the net, then shot the puck past Aebischer's glove to make it 1-0.

But Aebischer relaxed after that early setback, stopping everything until Marian Gaborik's late goal which set up a frantic final 3 minutes.


The Avalanche finished with its fourth-best January in franchise history, ending this month 9-2-2 for a .769 points percentage...Alex Tanguay finished with a team-best 19 points in January, totaling 10 goals and nine assists...It marked his most-ever goals in a single month and equaled his third highest point total...He had 23 points in February 2002-03 and 20 in February 2001-02...He has also had 19 twice before...David Aebischer posted a 9-2-1 record this month, setting a new franchise record for wins in the month of January...He broke the mark of eight set by Patrick Roy in January of 2001...Aebischer fell one shy of tying the franchise record for wins in any month, 10, set by Dan Bouchard in February of 1981...Aebischer's nine wins tied for second in the NHL this month, trailing only Martin Brodeur (10)...Vancouver's Alex Auld also had nine...Aebischer earned his 20th victory tonight, becoming just the third goaltender in franchise history to win 20 games in back-to-back seasons...The only other netminders to do so were Patrick Roy (eight straight) and Daniel Bouchard (three straight)...Brian Rolston extended his point streak to eight games tonight (previous 5g 7a).


Alex Tanguay: "It was a very slow start. We knew they were a very patient team. They are a team that waits for their opportunities. We kind of got caught playing their system in the first period. We are a team that, in order to be successful, we need to be skating and moving. I think we did a better job in the second. It's nice to get two points, we were looking to get two points. It is important for us to get a good win."

David Aebischer: On His 20th Win... "It's always good but hopefully there are 20 more to come. It's good to have nine wins in the month of January as well. I'm pretty happy about that. I'll try to raise the bar a little higher for the next couple of months."

Milan Hejduk: "I just keep battling. I feel like I haven't played that bad, just the puck's not going in. At least tonight one went in. We were saying in the locker room that this was a big month for us and we needed to take care of business at home. I think we did. We didn't win all the games but the majority of the games we won, so I guess you could say it was a good month for us."

Brian Rolston: "We're taking too many penalties. I think everybody has to play for us to be successful. Everybody has to contribute. We were right there in that game tonight even though we didn't play our best game. We have to play near-perfect hockey and everybody has to be going on all cylinders to win hockey games. And we weren't going, it's just one of those things."

Manny Fernandez: "Last night it was tough for me. I felt like I gave it all I had again tonight. Obviously when you come off getting pulled with four goals in the first period, obviously it takes a lot of mental strength to come back and play well. So my goal wasn't to win or have a shutout tonight, it was just to play my game and see the puck well. I tried the best I could. Like I said, I felt like two nights in a row I really played my heart out and we just didn't have the results to show for it."

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