DENVER (AP) - Milan Hejduk
's third-period goal capped a comeback from a three-goal deficit as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Phoenix Coyotes 7-4 on Monday night.
Hejduk took a perfect pass from Alex Tanguay through the crease and flipped it over Brian Boucher's right shoulder to snap a 4-4 tie with 8:42 remaining, just as a 5-on-3 advantage was about to end.
The Avs, who entered the final period trailing 4-3, added two empty-netters in the final minute, one by Ian Laperriere and another by Karlis Skrastins.
They tied the game at 2:24 of the third period on a rebound goal by Marek Svatos, his 20th, off a wraparound attempt by Pierre Turgeon.
Neither of the starting goalies lasted through the first period.
Vitaliy Kolesnik got a quick hook after surrendering two goals on the only two shots he faced in the first 3:20, and Curtis Joseph got yanked after allowing three goals in four shots for Phoenix.
Kolesnik surrendered both of his goals to right wing Shane Doan, the first of which came off a terrific centering pass from left wing Ladislav Nagy just 31 seconds after the puck was dropped and the second off a wrist shot from the right point.
Doan broke out of a slump Friday night with a goal in a win over Dallas, his first since Nov. 25.
Zbynek Michalek's slap shot past Peter Budaj off a drop pass from Mike Johnson made it 3-0 at the 8:29 mark, but goals by Joe Sakic and Rob Blake got Colorado back into it.
Sakic tied it at 3 with his 16th goal on an unusual play in which Tanguay passed to him from behind the net and the puck ricocheted off his left leg and into the net. After a review confirmed the goal, the Coyotes pulled Joseph and replaced him with Boucher.
In the second period, the Avs survived a 5-on-3 disadvantage but seconds after killing both power plays they allowed the Coyotes to go ahead 4-3 when Geoff Sanderson scored off Patrice Brisebois's turnover in the neutral zone.
The Avs have had problems in goal. David Aebischer was the starter two months ago but is usually a scratch nowadays, as he was Monday night, and Kolesnik and Budaj haven't faired much better in his place.
The Coyotes fell to 2-3-0 under interim coach Rick Tocchet. He took over Dec. 17 when Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's career scoring leader, put his coaching career on hold after his mother's health worsened. She died of lung cancer two days later in Brantford, Ontario.
Marek Svatos scored his 20th goal of the season tonight, tying Chris Drury for the most by a rookie in Avalanche history (since 1995-96)...Drury notched 20 goals during his Calder Trophy winning season of 1998-99...Svatos becomes just the eighth rookie in franchise history to surpass 20 goals in a single year, with the record being 39 by Peter and Anton Stastny in 1980-81...Listed here are the most by an Avs rookie since â€˜95-96...Svatos is now tied with Alexander Ovechkin for the most goals by an NHL
rookie in 2005-06....The Avalanche tied a franchise record with three short-handed goals
tonight...It's only the second time they've ever scored three short-handed goals in a single game and first since Oct. 20, 1984 at Toronto...It's the first time that an NHL team has scored three SHG in one game since the Tampa Bay Lighting did so on Dec. 27, 2003 against Boston...Colorado's two short-handed goals in the third period also equaled a franchise mark for most in a single period...It's the fourth time they've done that but first since Dec. 3, 1995 vs. Dallas (3rd period)...Joe Sakic set a season high with three points tonight (2g 1a)...Sakic's two goals give him 558 for his career, moving him past John Bucyk
for sole possession of 19th place in NHL history...Milan Hejduk notched his first game-winning goal and 39th of his career,
breaking a tie with Peter Forsberg for the fourth most in franchise history...Sakic holds the club record with 78 game-winners...Ian Laperriere scored his 11th goal of the season tonight, which is now
the second most of his career...He is two shy of equaling his personal best of 13 in 1994-95...Rob Blake extended his assist/point streak to four games tonight (1g 4a)...Colorado notched its largest comeback win of the season, overcoming an
early 3-0 deficit to beat the Coyotes.
Joe Sakic: "We found a way to come back, and that is the most important thing. Going down 3-0 is not so bad, because you have a lot of time to battle back. I don't think anybody expected to get three in the latter part of the first period but that's the game of hockey. It was a great comeback for us."
Ian Laperriere: "It was a weird game. Just the start of it...goals coming in-and-out, pulling our goalie, pulling their goalie. But we found a way to win and that's all that matters right now. We need to win those games. And we need to beat LA in two days." On Sakic... "You're not MVP of the league for no reason and you're not the captain of Team Canada for no reason. He put the game on his shoulders and got two goals. That's why he's a Hall-of-Famer."
Marek Svatos: "It was hard work by the team and it pays off. It was a weird game, six goals in the first period. Lots of scoring. We were down 3-0 and it was tough mentally for our team but we stayed strong and battled back."
Shane Doan: "They have a good power play. We gave them a good opportunity and they took advantage. They really rely on it. We played to their strength. Specialty teams is big for them and they beat us tonight in a specialty game. Our power play had opportunities to tie it up late and we didn't do it."
Mike Comrie: "Obviously it's disheartening. The only way to get back is to play hard against San Jose. I don't think any team in the NHL can give the Avalanche that many power plays. They've got guys who can score. And they did it."