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Avalanche 3, Blue Jackets 2, SO @NHLdotcom

DENVER (AP) - Though goaltender David Aebischer had few save opportunities, the ones he made were huge.

Aebischer stoned a breakaway attempt in overtime and three-of-four attempts in the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche maintained its dominance over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, winning 3-2. In all, he made only 19 saves.

Jaroslov Balastik had the Blue Jackets' lone goal in the shootout. Aebischer easily stopped David Vyborny, Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev in succession.

``The first one was a pretty good shot, the next two I think I moved pretty well,'' Aebischer said. ``The third one I guess he lost the puck.''

Colorado coach Joel Quenneville was pleased.

``He won it tonight and made several key stops at the right time,'' Quenneville said. ``It was nice to see him continue in the right direction, he was instrumental in the win.''

Alex Tanguay and Marek Svatos scored shootout goals for Colorado. The pair also accounted for both Colorado goals in regulation, and the Avalanche won their fourth straight.

Patrice Brisebois had two assists for the Avalanche, 16-0-1-1 all-time against Columbus.

``It's a goalie I played with in juniors,'' Tanguay said of Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire. ``I know he moves his legs really well side to side.''

Svatos scored with a backhander past Leclaire, who had 46 saves. Leclaire watched Joe Sakic's shot go harmlessly off the post and stopped Milan Hejduk's shot before Tanguay beat him with a backhander to improve Colorado to 2-3 in shootouts.

``Pascal was real good and had to be real good to come in here and play a Colorado team that had 48 shots on him,'' Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. ``He had to make some big saves, and he got us a big point.''

Sergei Fedorov and Nash had the regulation goals for Columbus, losers of three straight.

Nash had the best chance to win the game in overtime. Breaking in all alone, Aebischer stopped Nash's backhand attempt with his left pad with 3:12 left in OT.

The Avalanche outshot Columbus 16-3 in the first period and produced two power play goals to lead 2-0. Colorado had multiple quality chances including point blank chances seconds apart early in the game that Leclaire stopped with his pads.

Colorado finally broke through when Tanguay flipped a rebound past Leclaire with Jody Shelley off for slashing. It was Tanguay's 17th goal of the year.

Brett McLean set up Colorado's second goal with a cross ice pass to Svatos positioned in the lower left circle for a one-timer.

Columbus tightened its defense and was outshot 12-7 in the second period. Fedorov helped the Blue Jackets close the gap to 2-1 with a goal at 9:31. Aebischer was bowled over by Nash after stopping his shot and Fedorov snapped a shot into the net for his second goal of the year.

Leclaire made saves on shots by Ian Laperriere and Sakic after turnovers early in the third period. On the other end, the Blue Jackets tied the game at 2 on a goal by Nash at 7:19. Nikolai Zherdev's centering pass deflected off Hejduk's left skate right to Nash, who slapped it past Aebischer.

``This is a good time for me,'' Aebischer said. ``This is the stretch I've been waiting for.''

Notes: The Avalanche reassigned F Frantisek Skladeny to Lowell. ... Because of injuries, the Blue Jackets have yet to dress the same 18 players in more than two games in a row. ... Colorado is 9-0-0-0 in home games with the Blue Jackets.

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