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Happy Holidays! Avs Head Into Christmas Break Tied For First

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) -Wojtek Wolski scored two goals and Jose Theodore stopped 17 shots as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Saturday night.
The Avalanche moved into a tie with Edmonton and Minnesota for first place in the Northwest Division with 38 points.
It was Wolski's first multigoal game of the season. Joe Sakic added a goal and an assist for Colorado, winner of five of six overall and four straight at home.

Theodore won for the first time since Dec. 7. He was 0-2 since beating San Jose.

Radim Vrbata and Patrick Sharp had goals for the Blackhawks and Nikolai Khabibulin had 19 saves. Sharp's score was the second short-handed goal of is career.

The Blackhawks won the teams' first two meetings. Chicago is 8-3-3 under head coach Denis Savard, who replaced Trent Yawney on Nov. 29.

The score was tied after one period. Vrbata converted passes from Tuomo Ruutu and Tony Salmelainen into get his seventh goal of the year at 2:45 to put Chicago ahead 1-0.

Colorado answered quickly when Sakic was credited with a goal when the rebound of Ken Klee's shot caromed off Sakic's right skate past Khabibulin at 3:57. After Wolski scored a power-play goal at 10:23, Sharp tied the score again poking a pass from Denis Arkhipov past Theodore for a short-handed goal at 11:43.

Wolski's second goal of the night, on a one-timer from the slot, put the Avalanche ahead 3-2 at 4:32 of the second period.

Khabibulin kept it a one-goal game, stopping shots from point-blank range by Pierre Turgeon and Wolski over the remainder of the period. Chicago caught a break at 18:45 of the period when Milan Hejduk drew a high-sticking double minor.

Chicago sent seven shots at Theodore in the nearly 3 minutes of Hejduk's penalty that carried over into the third period. Theodore made a stick save on Martin LaPointe's shot through a screen and gloved Brent Seabrook's shot.

The Avalanche missed a chance to pad their lead when Patrice Brisbois missed a wide open net at 12:40. Turgeon had a goal waived off at 14:23 when referee Brad Watson had whistled the play dead.

The Blackhawks pulled Khabibulin for the final 1:15, but never got a shot on goal. The game ended with a scramble for the puck in front of Theodore.

Notes: The Blackhawks recalled RW Troy Brouwer from Norfolk of the AHL. ... Sharp recorded Chicago's sixth short-handed goal of the year. ... Sakic has 23 goals and 39 assists in 52 games against Chicago. ... Colorado D Karlis Skrastins played in his 468th consecutive game, longest among active players.


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