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Sakic Ties Game, Wins it in Shootout

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

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Just when it seemed like the Avalanche might run out of time, Super Joe came to the rescue.

Avalanche captain Joe Sakic added to his legacy Friday night at Pepsi Center, scoring with 5.9 seconds remaining in the third period to force overtime and then notching the game-winner in the shootout to give Colorado a 5-4 comeback victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

With the Avalanche trailing 4-3 late and Jose Theodore pulled for the extra attacker, Sakic chipped a loose puck over Dwayne Roloson’s glove to send the game to an extra session knotted at 4-4.

Following a scoreless overtime period, Wojtek Wolski, Sakic and Milan Hejduk each made good on their shootout attempts and Jose Theodore stopped Sam Gagner’s low forehand shot on Edmonton’s second attempt to give Colorado the victory.

“There was definitely in the last couple of minutes – some chances. And they weren’t going in,” said Sakic. “And finally I think it went off someone’s pants and it was just laying in between someone’s legs and I was just trying to get a lot of wood on it. I think it deflected off someone and went in. It was a fortunate goal.”

The win was the third straight at home for the Avalanche, which is now 8-1 in its last nine at Pepsi Center. The Avs are 26-12-2 at home this season, tied with Anaheim and Detroit for the most home wins in the NHL.

Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Andrew Brunette and Hejduk that came only 40 seconds apart.

First, Brunette tapped in the rebound of a Jeff Finger attempt that rang off the crossbar before settling near the goal line at the 7:22 mark. Hejduk then worked a nifty give-and-go with Peter Forsberg, making a behind the back feed to the Swedish forward before receiving a return pass in the low slot and firing it by Roloson at 8:02.

Edmonton went on to even the game with two quick goals of its own. Tom Gilbert put the Oilers on the board with a power-play goal at 12:13 and Jarret Stoll tied game 1:43 later on an attempt from the point that snuck past a screened Theodore.

Curtis Glencross gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead at 7:54 of the second period after streaking up the left wing and putting a shot between Theodore’s legs, but Brunette answered with his second tally of the game at 11:41. Forsberg set up the play with a feed from behind the net that Brunette buried from the goalmouth.

Gagner rounded out the scoring in the middle frame when he converted on his own rebound at 17:03, giving the Oilers a 4-3 advantage heading into the third period.

Laying it on the Line
With the momentum in the Avalanche’s favor and the scoreboard reading 2-0 for the home team, Jose Theodore kept it that way – at least for a short while – with a highlight-reel save. Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky had control of the puck in the right faceoff circle and drew the attention of the Avalanche defense before finding a cutting Dustin Penner in the slot. Penner put a shot on a seemingly wide open net, but Theodore dove back from just outside his crease to make a glove save before the puck crossed the goal line.

However, Adam Foote was called for roughing on the play and Gilbert converted only eight seconds into the ensuing power play.

No Power Play, No Problem
While it didn’t officially go down as a power-play goal, the Avs tallied a goal in the first period just one second after a power play had expired. Whistled for hooking at the 5:21 mark of the first period, Edmonton’s Fernando Pisani was not able to get out of the penalty box and back into the play in time to stop Andrew Brunette from notching his 18th goal of the season.

Coming into the game, the Avs had scored a power-play goal in seven of the previous eight games, going 8-for-34 during that stretch (23.5%). The Avs failed to score on their three opportunities Friday night.

Milan Hejduk’s first-period tally extended his goal streak to a season-best four games (during which he has totaled 5 goals) and also allowed him to overtake the injured Marek Svatos for the team’s goal-scoring lead with 27 markers on the season. The nine-year NHL veteran’s longest goal streak occurred from Feb. 11-23, 2003, when he scored in seven consecutive games (8 goals total).

Lending a Hand
Peter Forsberg continued his solid play since returning to the NHL by notching three assists Friday evening. The Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native now has a three-game point streak in the works – having totaled seven assists during that span – and has recorded three helpers in each of his last two games. Overall, Forsberg has nine assists in seven games since returning to the Avalanche.

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