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Avalanche 4, Flyers 3, OT @NHLdotcom

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Peter Forsberg was gracious enough to pick up the bill when he dined with a group of his former Colorado teammates.

The Avalanche returned the gesture by sticking Philadelphia with a loss.

Alex Tanguay scored with 45.8 seconds left in overtime, helping Colorado spoil Forsberg's first game against his former team in the Avalanche's 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

"It was a little different, but as soon as the game started, I don't really care," said Forsberg, who spent 10 years with his old team. "I've never cared who I'm playing against. I just try and do my best to win the game for us."

Forsberg couldn't pull one out for the Flyers this time, though he sure made it interesting.

The Flyers forced overtime with a frantic final 2 minutes of regulation, getting goals from Mike Knuble and Forsberg before getting dominated in the extra period.

The Avalanche took nine of their 34 shots in OT and held the Flyers without a shot.

Colorado continued playing some of its best hockey since the days when Forsberg was winning Stanley Cups, an MVP award and solidifying his reputation as the best player in the world before he signed with the Flyers in August.

John-Michael Liles, Brett Clark and Antti Laaksonen also scored for the Avalanche, who've won seven straight games for the first time since Jan. 16-30, 2001.

Maybe the Flyers should have stayed on the road. Even with Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, in a Flyers "06" jersey at the game rallying the crowd, the Flyers' success couldn't carry over in their first home game since Dec. 22.

"We had a lot to overcome, including Rocky," Avs coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Flyers' loss followed their longest and most grueling road trip ever, when they won more games and had more points than any team in NHL history.

The Flyers went 8-2-1 on the road for 17 points, returning home first in the league with 62. In the 1968-69 season, the Montreal Canadiens went 6-1-1 for 13 points.

Forsberg has certainly lived up to expectations since signing a two-year, $11.5 million contract with the Flyers after helping Colorado win two Stanley Cup championships. The 2003 MVP leads the team in points, and had an assist on Knuble's goal for his 800th career point.

"I wanted to get it out of the way before we played Colorado, but I didn't mind it," he said. "It feels a little weird to play against the team you played for so long. On the other hand, you have to be professional and move on."

First, Forsberg treated some Avalanche to a meal the night before that was almost appreciated as much as the victory.

"Any free meal is a good meal, you know?" center Joe Sakic said.

Philadelphia rallied on Knuble's 21st goal with 2:36 left in the third. Then Forsberg followed 1 minute, 24 seconds later with his 15th goal of the season and the sold-out crowd erupted.

David Aebischer stopped 27 shots and won his sixth straight start for Colorado.

"We're playing well and we're playing with confidence and those two things are really important," he said.

The Avalanche went ahead 1-0 late in the first period on Liles' power-play goal, his 10th of the year.

Only 21 seconds into the second period, Clark slid one past Antero Niittymaki for his fourth goal of the year. Laaksonen knocked in a loose puck early in the third for a 3-1 lead.

Kim Johnsson made it 2-1 in the second on a slap shot from straight in front of the net. The power-play goal was his fifth, with an assist from Simon Gagne. Gagne's three assists gave him 300 career points.

The Flyers began their road trip on Dec. 23 in Pittsburgh. They started 7-0-1 before losing 3-0 to New Jersey on Monday night. After beating Chicago on Wednesday, the Flyers completed the trip with a 6-3 loss to Detroit on Thursday night.

Notes: The Flyers reassigned LW Ben Eager to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms. Eager had three goals and five assists for eight points and 18 penalty minutes in 20 games for the Flyers this season. ... The Flyers honored the 1975 Stanley Cup champs, the first team to defeat the Central Red Army hockey team on Jan. 11, 1976. ... Stallone is in town filming "Rocky Balboa." Stallone and his brother, Frank, were in the locker room.

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