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Avs outlast Sabres 4-3 in 11-round shootout

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The Colorado Avalanche had to work a lot harder than they thought they would, but in the end, they left HBSC Arena with the two points they came for.

The Avs wasted 2-0 and 3-1 leads before Matt Hendricks' goal in the 11th round of a shootout gave them a 4-3 win over Buffalo on Saturday night, snapping the Sabres' six-game winning streak.

Colorado couldn't hold its 3-1 lead in the third period, as Thomas Vanek scored with 10:41 remaining and Jochen Hecht tied it with 4:12 left in regulation.

After a scoreless overtime and 10 rounds of a shootout that saw each team score three times, Hendricks made a nifty move to beat Patrick Lalime in the 11th round to give Colorado (25-15-6) just its second victory in the last five games. Hendricks faked a wrist shot in the slot before going to his backhand to slide the puck into the net. The move worked out better than it had earlier in the year when Hendricks ultimately fell into Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet after the fake.

"I had a little too much speed the last time," said Hendricks, who also had an assist on the first of Matt Duchene's two goals. "Tonight it worked, and we got the win. That's the most important thing."

Duchene also scored in the shootout, fellow rookie Brandon Yip, playing in just his 10th NHL game, tallied for the fifth time and added an assist, and Craig Anderson made 32 saves for the Avalanche, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Colorado
has yet to lose three straight this season.

"It says a lot about the character of our team," said Duchene, the third pick in last June's Entry Draft. "We never got down, and it was a good effort by us."

Anderson stopped Buffalo defenseman Henrik Tallinder right before Hendricks' tally.

"They've got a great offensive team, a lot of firepower, and got momentum," Anderson said. "We did a good job of just sticking it out, and didn't panic."

Buffalo (28-11-5), looking for its longest winning streak since opening the 2006-07 season with an NHL-record 10 consecutive victories, also got a second-period goal by Drew Stafford, who also added an assist. Hecht sent the game into overtime when his wrist shot from the right point got past Anderson.

"We battled hard, and came out flying in the third," said Lalime, who gave Ryan Miller a night off after Miller's 48-save performance against Toronto on Friday night. "That's the way we should play all the time. We had a lot of great chances, but we just didn't close the deal."

Colorado played without captain Adam Foote, who returned to Denver after injuring his ankle during the second period in Friday's loss to Carolina. Coach Joe Sacco said Foote's injury was not as bad as originally thought, and is hoping the defenseman is back skating in a few days.

Duchene opened the scoring 7:35 into the game. He stole the puck from Tallinder in the right circle, fed Hendricks in the slot, then took a return pass before flipping the puck over Lalime. He got his second of the game and 13th of the season at 13:28, jamming home a loose puck in the crease.

Stafford made it 2-1 by scoring a power-play goal with 2:55 remaining in the second period, but Yip restored the two-goal lead 62 seconds later when his wrist shot from the right circle eluded Lalime.

Vanek scored midway through the third period to cut the deficit to 3-2.

"It's always a good point when you battle back," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "If you have energy in the third, you should have energy in the first. I wasn't happy with the first period, but we responded well for some of the things we did poorly early in the game."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

 

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