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Avs On Brink After 4-3 OT Loss

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) -- Joffrey Lupul's three goals in regulation and one in overtime gave the Ducks a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche and a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference playoff series.

Ilya Bryzgalov's shutout streak ended at three games, but the Ducks are still a win away from advancing to the conference finals.

The Ducks can complete the sweep Thursday night at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche will try to join the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only teams tin win series after losing the first three games.

Colorado had won its last six playoff overtime games, tops in the NHL and a franchise record, including three over Dallas in the first round of this year's playoffs.

After both teams killed a power play in the extra period, Dustin Penner stole the puck from Patrice Brisebois in the Colorado zone and fed Lupul, who added to his first career hat trick with a shot from between the circles that beat Avs goaltender Jose Theodore at 16:30 of overtime.

The Avalanche took a 2-1 lead on Jim Dowd's short-handed goal early in the third period, but Colorado was lax on defense and allowed Lupul to score his second and third goals less than two minutes apart.

Defenseman Rob Blake got caught pinching in on the blue line and Alex Tanguay's turnover led to a 2-on-1 breakaway and Lupul tied it with his second goal at 8:54. He gave Anaheim a 3-2 led at 10:40 with a slap shot from between the circles.

The deflated Avs fought back to tie it at 3 on Blake's slap shot at 13:35.

Bryzgalov allowed a goal for the first time in 249 minutes, 15 seconds when he gave up a goal late in the first period. The rookie goalie's streak is the second-longest in NHL playoff history, trailing only George Hainsworth's 270:08, set in 1930 for Montreal.

After posting three straight shutouts, including two against the Avalanche in Anaheim, Bryzgalov finally gave up a goal when Dan Hinote tapped the puck past him with 26 seconds left in the first period, giving Colorado a 1-0 lead.

The 25-year-old Russian was closing in on his 13th straight perfect period.

He had stopped 99 straight shots dating to the Ducks' Game 7 win at Calgary in the Western Conference quarterfinals before Andrew Brunette got control of the puck behind the net and with one arm slid it to the left side of the crease to Hinote.

The Avs, who didn't get off a single shot in a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted more than a minute, acted as though they'd won another overtime game. It was, after all, their first goal since April 30.

The celebration was short-lived, however, as Lupul tied it at 9:02 of the second period with a slap shot after the Ducks controlled the puck in the Colorado zone for more than a minute, even managing a line change during that time.

Brunette had a goal late in the second period waved off because Milan Hejduk's pass was high-sticked as he swatted a deflection into the crease. Later in the period, Theodore made a sensational save while sprawled when he reached high to stop Teemu Selanne's hard, high shot from the left circle.


Joffrey Lupul notched the first playoff hat trick in Mighty Ducks history tonight...He is the first NHL player to score four goals in a playoff game since Theo Fleury did it for Calgary on May 13, 1995 at San Jose...Ilya Bryzgalov saw his playoff shutout streak end at 249:15, the second longest in NHL postseason history...Only George Hainsworth of the Montreal Canadiens in 1930 had a longer streak...Anaheim registered 13 unanswered goals during that streak...The last goal the Ducks allowed came against Calgary in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinal at 10:18 of the first period...Colorado ended its scoring drought tonight at 139:33...The Avalanche saw its six-game playoff overtime winning streak come to an end tonight...It was the longest current playoff overtime winning streak in the NHL and the longest in franchise history...Joe Sakic recorded his 96th career playoff assist tonight, tying Mario Lemieux and Bobby Smith for 21st all-time...He is also one shy of tying Peter Forsberg (97) for the most helpers in franchise playoff history...Sakic is now in sole possession of 11th place on the all time playoff scoring list with 177 points, passing Jean Beliveau (176).


Jose Theodore: "They are a team that will drive the net. I thought we did a great job, but in the playoffs there are going to be a lot of traffic and chances. It was a game where both teams played real hard, and they were able to get the win in OT. We just got to take it one game at a time. A couple years ago I came back down 3-1 so we just have to win the next one, and build from there and get the momentum on our side."

Ian Laperriere: "We put more traffic in front of Bryzgalov, and we put every puck we could at the net that's what you need to do. We found a way to score and we need to do that in Game 4. Lupul has been playing good all year. He is showing the world he is hell of a player, and we need to know when he is out there obviously. We need to play with desperation, and we need to do the same the next game. There is no tomorrow so we need to give it everything we got."

Rob Blake: "They matched us and bettered us tonight again. We have to win one game and we will take it from there. It's not going to be easy they are a good team and play hard. On Jose Theodore... "Again he played tremendous. He made a stop on Teemu (Selanne) and on a short handed chance with less than 20 seconds left in the second period and a couple breakaways."

Joffrey Lupul: On his game winner... "We had a good chance before. Travis Moen made a great play up at the line. He had a good shot up at the slot, and (Dustin) Penner picked it off and I was yelling for it. I think he was looking for me today after I had a couple. I got a little fortunate. General... "We can form a solid second line to chip in with some goals its going to make us that much harder to stop. We had some good chances that didn't go in for our line."

Ilja Bryzgalov: "They put a lot more players in front of the net, it was tougher to see the puck. We won the game and that's the most important for us. It was a great team effort, the team played so very well. I felt the altitude in the morning skate and it was tough to play with."

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