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Kolesnik Earns 4-1 Win In NHL Debut

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) - Vitaly Kolesnik stopped 20 shots in his NHL debut, and Alex Tanguay had a goal for the third straight game and added two assists to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

Milan Hejduk, Brett McLean and John-Michael Liles also scored for Colorado, which won for the fourth time in six games.

Marco Sturm scored his third goal in four games since being traded from San Jose with Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart for Boston captain Joe Thornton. The Bruins just didn't have many other good scoring chances and gave up too many at the other end to lose for the 11th time in 14 games.

They are 2-2 since dealing Thornton, the Boston captain, last week.

Kolesnik certainly didn't make it easy on the Bruins in what could be the start of a shakeup for the Avalanche.

Colorado called up the 26-year-old player from Kazakhstan on Tuesday after becoming frustrated with the play of goalies David Aebischer and Peter Budaj.

Aebischer, the Avalanche's top goalie to start the season, has a 3.37 goals-against average and was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots in the first period of a 6-4 loss to Buffalo on Sunday.

Budaj, a rookie, is 3-4-3 with a .904 save percentage, 0-3 in shootouts and has yet to win in four games at home.

Bringing up Kolesnik could be a sign that the Avalanche are looking to make a deal or it could just be that coach Joel Quenneville and the front office are looking to spark Aebischer and Budaj.

Either way, Kolesnik looked solid, keeping good position in the crease and knocking down some tough chances through traffic.

He was particularly good during a power play midway through the first period, smothering a hard shot from the top with his body, gloving another from the left circle and sticking his skate out just in time to block a rebound. Boston's only goal came with 27 seconds left in the first period, when Sturm slipped behind Colorado's defense for a breakaway and scored off a rebound that tied it at 1-all.

Boston goalie Andrew Raycroft had another tough outing after taking three games off.

Hejduk scored on a power play in the first period, knocking in his third goal in 18 games to an open net after a shot by Tanguay caromed off someone out front. Tanguay put Colorado up 2-1 midway through the second, holding the puck across the crease and flipping a shot over a prone Raycroft after intercepting a pass from Bruins defenseman Brian Leetch.

McLean made it 3-1 just over four minutes later with an improbable goal, beating Raycroft to the stick side after whirling around near the blue line. Liles scored his seventh of the season midway through the third, one-timing a pass from Joe Sakic past Raycroft's stick side.

Raycroft has allowed 15 goals his last four games.


Alex Tanguay scored a goal for the third straight game, matching his career-high for consecutive games with a goal (fourth time, last: March 25-29, 2003) ... Joe Sakic extended his point streak to seven games, equaling his season best set Oct. 8-22 ... Joe has five goals and six assists during this streak ... The line of Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk and Alex Tanguay combined for six points tonight and has now combined for 24 points over the last five games ... Colorado is 11-5-1-0 against Boston since moving to Denver in 1995-96 ... Boston C Patrice Bergeron played his 100th career game ... Bruins LW Sergei Samsonov missed his second straight game after experiencing numbness in his hands and wrists on Sunday.


Joe Sakic: General... "We didn't give up too many odd-man rushes by turning the puck over. We talked about that before. It was a good team win overall. And (Kolesnik) played great. We did a good job of getting the puck in deep and cycling the puck. Up front, we had good speed and if we can do that and make them work hard in their end, we can tire them out. And I think that's what happened in the second." On Kolesnik... "He played a great game, he's a big kid. You don't see a lot of room in the net with him."

Alex Tanguay: On His Goal... "(Raycroft) actually pushed me, so I tried to stay a little further away or go around him. But I was fortunate enough that I had an opening." On His Line... "Now we're starting to skate a little better. With the skill that Milan (Hejduk) and Joe (Sakic) have, if we just skate well and move towards the puck, we're going to create chances and odd numbers and things like that."

Vitaly Kolesnik: "I'm very happy to get my first win in the NHL. It feels great. I'm just very happy."

Andrew Raycroft: "All I can do is control what I do. I feel good about myself right now and it's going to work out. It's going to make me and everyone else stronger if we can get through this and keep working through this. We still have 50 games but everyday that we don't figure it out, it's definately a day that we're losing everybody else (in the standings). It's past excuses. It's past everything. Bottom line is we have to go out and work.....get it done."

Travis Green: "We have to play harder and better. We make mistakes that cost us goals. And you can't do that in this league. You're not going to play mistake-free hockey but I think tonight, we didn't play hard enough. You're not always going to have your best game but you have to find ways to get through it and find a way to do what it takes to get the win."

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