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Carolina Hurricanes 1, Colorado Avalanche 3 FINAL @NHLdotcom

DENVER (AP) _ The Colorado Avalanche said they weren't going to overlook Carolina with a matchup against rival Detroit just two days away.

It sure didn't look like it at the start. Good thing David Aebischer was at the top of his game.

Aebischer stopped 36 shots and the Avalanche bounced back from a sluggish start to beat the Hurricanes 3-1 Tuesday night.

``Pretty much from Day 1 of the season, he has been consistent in his play,'' Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. ``That is why he has as many wins as he does and that is why his numbers are as good as they are.''

The Avalanche seemed out of sorts at the start and Carolina took advantage, peppering Aebischer with 11 shots before the period was even halfway over.

Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Aebischer was up to the task.

He opened by stopping Sean Hill's shot from the point, then stuck his leg out to stuff Rod Brind'Amour on the rebound. Aebischer followed by holding his ground on Eric Staal's tip shot and made consecutive stick saves on Jeff O'Neill and Justin Williams.

``We weren't really good in the first 10 minutes,'' said Aebischer, who stopped 17 shots in the period. ``We just have to put together 60 good minutes.''

In case Aebischer didn't frustrate the Hurricanes enough, Milan Hejduk scored his 26th goal at 12:55 after Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes nearly killed off a two-man advantage.

Weekes stopped consecutive shots by Rob Blake at the point, but Hejduk tipped a third from the same spot with five seconds left on the first penalty.

Hill was called for the second penalty when he swiped Teemu Selanne in the face with his stick, leading someone in the Carolina general manager's box to slam their fist on the counter.

``The call? It was a joke,'' Hill said. ``Bottom line is the refs feel like they have to call something because it's a (star) player.''

Steve Konowalchuk and Steve Moore also scored for Colorado, 5-0-2-1 its past eight games. The Avalanche earned at least a point for the 17th time in 18 games (13-1-2-2) despite not having a shot on goal in the third period.

Pavel Brendl scored for Carolina, but it came too late. The misses early kept the Hurricanes winless against Colorado the past 13 games (0-10-3), dating to Feb. 9, 1996.

``They've got a great team. I just didn't see it tonight,'' Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said.

Konowalchuk put Colorado up 2-0 on a power play 5:53 into the second period, punching in a rebound for his 14th of the year after Joe Sakic hit the right post from close range.

Moore put Colorado up three and sent Weekes to the bench with his third goal 3:12 later, lifting a shot just under the cross bar on a loose puck just outside the crease.

``Our power play was good tonight,'' Konowalchuk said. ``We got two off the power play and that was the difference.''

Brendl cut the lead to 3-1 with his third of the season on a power play at 13:36 of the third period, lifting a rebound over a diving Aebischer.

Carolina pulled Jamie Storr, Weekes' replacement, with 2:10 left in the game, but Aebischer kept turning away shots for his 23rd win.

``He played a great game, give him a lot of credit,'' Hill said. ``I don't know if it's him playing great or us hitting him with shots, but he sure looked good tonight.''

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