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Avs Win Key Divisional Battle

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

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  Smyth Post-Game 
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It took over 26 minutes for a scoreless tie to be broken Monday night at Pepsi Center, but Jordan Leopold notched a power-play goal at the 6:36 mark of the second period and the Avalanche and Jose Theodore made the lead stand in a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames.

With the win, the Avs pulled within three points of Northwest Division leading Minnesota, which dropped a 5-3 decision to Edmonton tonight.

“We played well for 60 minutes,” said Theodore. “We got a big power-play goal and it’s always huge to get the first goal in this league. The second one was even bigger to give us a little bit of a breather.”

The Avs took the lead on a bang-bang play when Wojtek Wolski’s centering pass from the right faceoff circle hit Peter Forsberg in the skate and bounced to Leopold in the slot, who buried a shot for his fourth tally of the season.

“It was a big game for us. We limited them on their chances and made plays of our own,” said Leopold. “Kudos goes out to all the guys. We played well, stuck to our systems. Jose gave us a chance to hold on to that lead. It’s playoff hockey right now. It’s four-point games and they’re huge points for us.”

Milan Hejduk added an insurance tally at 12:19 of the third period off a pass from Paul Stastny. After Ryan Smyth won a battle in the corner, he poked the puck toward the Calgary goal to Stastny, who set up Hejduk’s 24th tally of the season.

The Avalanche defense and Theodore did the rest, with the netminder making 23 stops to post his third shutout of the season.

A Little Piece of History
Avalanche captain Joe Sakic’s gloves are headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame in recognition of his 1000th career assist. Sakic became just the 11th player in NHL history to hit the milestone when he assisted on Tyler Arnason’s power-play goal at the 4:58 mark of the second period Saturday in Edmonton.

Smyth Hits Milestone
Smyth hit the 600-point plateau for his career with his assist on Hejduk’s goal. Over the course of his 13-year NHL career, the Banff, Alberta, native has totaled 284 goals and 316 assists in 838 regular season contests.

Wolski Gets to Century Mark
With a helper on Leopold’s second-period tally, Wolski recorded his 100th career point. Wolski now has 44 points (17g/27a) in 71 games this year after posting 50 points (22g/28a) in 76 games a year ago in his first full NHL season. The Zabrze, Poland, native also had two goals and four assists in a nine-game stint during the 2005-06 campaign.

Power Play in Gear
The Avalanche has scored a power-play goal in six of the last seven games, going 7-for-32 (21.9%) during that stretch. On the season, the Avs have notched a power-play marker in 36 of their 77 contests and have posted a 26-8-2 record when doing so.
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