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Avalanche rally in third to beat Jets

by Rick Sadowski /

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche showed Sunday night that they are capable of rallying too.

Trailing after two periods for the first time this season, the Avalanche used third-period goals from Paul Stastny and Jan Hejda to pull out a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center for their 10th victory in 11 games.

The Avalanche matched the franchise record for wins in October set in 2009-10.

"Like I said to the guys between the second and the third, during a season you always have to face adversity at a moment," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "It was important for us to try and give our best period. I'm proud of our guys. They battled even harder in the third. We made a couple of adjustments and they played hard.

"Everyone is bringing something to the team. I'm proud because we were resilient. We remained focused and we didn't panic going into the third."

The Avalanche outshot the Jets 17-6 in the third period and killed off Winnipeg's fifth power play of the game after Hejda scored the tying goal at 7:13 when he hammered a shot from the left circle that sailed over goalie Al Montoya's left shoulder.

Hejda figured he had some making up to do after taking two penalties, including a trip against Devin Setoguchi with 1:43 left in the second period.

"We had a short meeting in the locker room (during the second intermission) where we said we can win this game," Hejda said. "The confidence we have right now is helping us a lot. My goal was just part of that, just confidence. I'm not saying I was shooting high glove, but it was a great feeling."

Stastny was by himself just outside the crease when Gabriel Landeskog slid the puck to him through the slot after Alex Tanguay drew two Jets defenders to him. Stastny knocked the puck inside the left post to break the tie.

"When Tangs brings two guys to him, you know something good is going to happen," Stastny said. "I was just going back door and trying to yell as loud as I can to Landy because he was looking to shoot. He changed his mind at the last second and just gave me a tap-in. He passed it between two sticks. That's something we practice."

The Avalanche killed off three penalties after Blake Wheeler ripped a shot from the right point into the net to give the Jets their 2-1 lead at 10:02 of the second period. The puck trickled behind goalie Semyon Varlamov three seconds after the Avalanche finished killing the Jets' second power play of the game.

Winnipeg, which has failed to convert on 25 consecutive man advantages in an eight-game stretch, had five power plays to one for Colorado. The Avalanche has killed 18 penalties in a row over the past four games.

"What amazed me the most is five-to-one power plays at home," Roy said. "Just to tell you that we never let that change the momentum. We were capable of generating some good chances offensively. That could have killed our momentum very easy."

Jets coach Claude Noel has become frustrated watching his team fail to take advantage of power plays on a nightly basis.

"It's getting old," he said. "We don't make the greatest decisions, we don't execute, and these are the things we lamented before. We were 0-for-5; it cost us the game. They got a lot of shots. They have speed, but we created quite a few of our problems. Some of the stuff we did, you really had to give your head a shake. The game was up for grabs and to me we let it slip away."

Montoya played well in his second start of the season while facing 36 shots.

"It's frustrating to get to the third period up 2-1 against a team like this and not even come away with a point," he said. "They're the hottest team in the League right now, so I was ready from the gate. We knew what they were going to bring. Just disappointing to not come away with at least a point."

Colorado opened the scoring at 8:04 of the first period on Matt Duchene's ninth goal of the season. Steve Downie put a shot on goal from the right side, Montoya kicked the rebound into the left circle and Duchene banged the rebound into an open net.

Duchene tied the team record for goals in October. Joe Sakic scored nine in 1997; Peter Forsberg did it in 2000 and Chris Stewart in 2010.

The Jets tied the game at the 11-minute mark after Adam Pardy shot the puck off the end boards. The puck ricocheted to the opposite side and Bryan Little fired it inside the right post before Varlamov could slide over in time.

"In the first couple periods, there wasn't a whole lot of flow and then (in the) third period, it really picked up," Duchene said. "It was a hell of a game there at the end. I said out there, it felt like a playoff game. It was pretty special to win that one. It was the first time we have been behind going into the third. It was some new territory for us, but we believed in here."

The Jets announced before the game that defenseman Paul Postma has a blood clot in his leg and will be sidelined indefinitely. Postma played Saturday in the Jets' 2-1 shootout win against the Dallas Stars.

Postma will take blood thinners and remain with the team through a game against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, the final game of a four-game road trip. Postma will be examiner further when the Jets return to Winnipeg.

Avalanche left wing Jamie McGinn was a late scratch because of a knee injury.

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