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Landeskog's OT tally lifts Avs past Ducks

by Rick Sadowski
DENVER Gabriel Landeskog was feeling a lot better Monday night than he was earlier in the day, when a bug of some sort prevented him from taking part in the Colorado Avalanche's morning skate.

The 19-year-old rookie managed to crack a few smiles after collecting his fourth game-winning goal of the season as he blasted a shot past goalie Jonas Hiller with 3:08 remaining in overtime to give the Avalanche a 3-2 victory against the Anaheim Ducks at the Pepsi Center.

Landeskog's goal ruined what otherwise was an historic performance for Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne, whose power-play goal with 3:52 left in regulation tied the game and moved him past his idol, Jari Kurri, into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL all-time scoring list with 1,399 points. Selanne also became the all-time leading scorer from Finland.

"That doesn't really make me much happier right now," said Selanne, who has 659 goals and 740 assists in 1,329 career games. "The win was really the only goal we had. We couldn't do it."

The victory moved the Avalanche into eighth place in the Western Conference with 78 points. The defeat dropped the Ducks nine points behind in the race for the final playoff position.

"That's a huge (extra) point for our team right now. We need all the points we can get," said Landeskog, who finished with three shots on goal to give him 235 for the year, breaking Peter Stastny's franchise rookie record of 232 shots set in 1980-81 with the Quebec Nordiques.

Landeskog acknowledged feeling under the weather throughout the day and "fighting it" during the game.

"It was one of those games where I didn't know if I was going to be able to contribute out there," he said. "I kind of hung in there. I thought I was holding our line down a little bit. I was struggling most of the game, but those are the kind of games where you have to take it one shift at a time, take short shifts and kind of let my teammates do the job. To get an opportunity in OT, I just wanted to get it on net for it to go in."

Landeskog lost the puck along the boards following an Anaheim turnover, but defenseman Matt Hunwick prevented it from leaving the zone and fed Landeskog as the Ducks began to head up ice.

"Me and (Steve Downie) kind of had a 2-on-1 and I just tried to unload it on net, tried to go short side," Landeskog said. "I was happy to see it go in. If I didn't score, Downie would have been pretty ticked at me."

The Avalanche needed another strong effort from goalie Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 38 saves and has posted a 7-2 record in his past nine decisions with a 1.32 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.

"It was a tough game for both goalies and for both teams," Varlamov said. "When they scored that second goal, I think we were a little frustrated. After that, we pushed back and played very well in overtime. Good thing we scored in overtime. Thanks, Gabriel; that was a heavy shot."

Varlamov didn't have much chance to stop Selanne's tying goal. The 41-year-old right wing was in the right faceoff circle when he ripped a shot over the sprawling goalie 16 seconds after Colorado's Shane O'Brien went off for interfering with Jason Blake.

Hiller kept the game tied 35 seconds later when he robbed Ryan O'Reilly with a glove save on a clean breakaway. Hiller made a number of big stops among his 30 saves.

"I don't know what we're doing in overtime," Hiller said. "I guess everybody just wanted to run up and score and definitely not play defense first. It's tough. We came back twice and then you kind of give it away in overtime. It definitely hurts."

Kevin Porter put the Avalanche in front 2-1 with 6:47 to play in the third period with his first goal since Dec. 29. Cody McLeod chased down the puck into the left corner and passed it back to defenseman Jan Hejda. He took a shot from the left point and Porter deflected it through traffic.

The Avalanche was nursing a 1-0 lead until Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin scored with 2.5 seconds to go in the second period after Colorado defenseman Ryan O’Byrne turned the puck over to Cam Fowler. He took a shot, Bobby Ryan got his stick on the puck and Beauchemin chipped it into the net.

The Avalanche went on a power play 10 seconds into the third period when Ducks center Saku Koivu, playing in his 1,000th NHL game, went off for interfering with Paul Stastny. Erik Johnson blasted a shot that got past Hiller, but Beauchemin cleared it before it crossed the goal line.

McGinn gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 10:48 of the first period with his fifth goal in the past five games. McGinn, who has 5 goals and 2 assists in seven games since his Feb. 28 acquisition from San Jose, scored from the right circle after Hiller made a stop on Hejda.

The Ducks played without leading goal-scorer Corey Perry, who suffered a right shoulder injury Saturday against Dallas. Perry had played in 272 consecutive games.
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