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Wolski Scores OT Game-Winner vs. Rangers

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Post-Game Comments:

Wojtek Wolski
Milan Hejduk
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Notes & Quotes

The Avalanche faced the New York Rangers on Friday night without two of its biggest offensive weapons in Ryan Smyth and captain Joe Sakic.

Fortunately for the Avalanche, Milan Hejduk, Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski were still in uniform, and they more than picked up the slack. The trio accounted for three goals and three assists in Colorado’s 4-3 overtime win over New York, giving Colorado its fourth straight home victory.

Hejduk notched two goals for Colorado, Stastny had a pair of assists and Wolski notched the game-winning tally 1:16 into the extra session to go along with one helper.

Wolski started the play that led to his own game deciding marker in overtime. After being  joined on a rush by Marek Svatos, Wolski was knocked off the puck at the top of the faceoff circle. Jeff Finger then swooped into the zone, grabbed the loose puck and fired a shot that was partially stopped by Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. With the puck sitting on the goal line, Wolski tapped home his team-leading fourth game-winner to improve Colorado’s record to 14-3-0 at Pepsi Center.

“Last game we got scored against in overtime, so I just wanted to make sure that I was playing well,” said Wolski. “I kind of lost the puck. Jeff came off the bench really strong and that was important. Without that shot from him, it wouldn’t have been a goal.”

Brendan Shanahan put New York up 1-0 with a power-play goal at the 13:25 mark of the first period, but Hejduk evened the score on his own power-play tally at 3:23 of the middle frame. After catching a pass from Stastny, Andrew Brunette made a feed to Hejduk, who buried a shot past Lundqvist. The goal was the forward’s team-leading sixth tally with a man advantage.

Hejduk struck again at 7:38 off assists from Stastny and Wolski. After holding a Rangers clearing attempt in the offensive zone, Wolski pushed the puck ahead to Stastny. The Avalanche’s leading scorer corralled the puck and kept possession for an extra second to avoid a New York defenseman before feeding Hejduk, who one-timed the pass for his 15th goal of the season.

The Rangers struck back with two quick goals. The first came on a point shot from Michal Rozsival at 8:04, while Marc Staal tipped Scott Gomez’s attempt over Peter Budaj’s right shoulder 1:05 later to round out the second-period scoring.

Marek Svatos sent the game to overtime with his 11th goal of the season. Jaroslav Hlinka put a shot on goal from the slot, and Svatos cleaned up the rebound at 8:23.

“Any points are huge right now, especially at home and we need to collect these points,” said Hejduk. “It was a great team effort tonight and we got it.”

Notes: Tonight’s game was the first in a four-game homestand which also sees Vancouver, Detroit and Los Angeles visit Pepsi Center…The Rangers made their first visit to Denver since Nov. 20, 2003, a 4-3 Avalanche win …With the victory, Joel Quenneville broke a tie with Jack Adams for 18th place on the all-time coaching wins list…The victory upped Quenneville’s record to 414-283-95 as an NHL head coach…Colorado is 3-0 against Eastern Conference teams this year.

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