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Smyth, Hejduk share spotlight in Avs' win

by Brian Hunter
Ryan Smyth scored the 300th goal of his NHL career Sunday. Milan Hejduk thought that looked like fun and promptly did the same.

Smyth and Hejduk scored 4:44 apart in the second period as the Colorado Avalanche won 6-2 at Pepsi Center over the Calgary Flames, the first time in five tries this season they've beaten the Northwest Division leaders.

"It was a special night, getting the 300th goal with Smitty here tonight," Hejduk said. "We won, so everything was great tonight."

The Avalanche outshot the Flames 20-8 in the first and grabbed a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Marek Svatos and Chris Stewart. They extended the lead on the pair of milestone scores before Ruslan Salei and Cody McLeod got in on the act during the third.

Peter Budaj made 38 saves as Colorado improved to 1-1 on an eight-game homestand and remained within striking distance in the Western Conference playoff picture, two points out of eighth.

"Every game is the biggest game of the year," Budaj said. "Especially beating a division team like Calgary that we lost four straight before. It's a great victory, it's a four-point hockey game because of the division, and hopefully we're going to start a winning streak right now. We've got the homestand and the great schedule, so you've got to take advantage of it."

The only other time teammates scored their 300th goals in the same game was when Danny Gare and Ivan Boldirev accomplished the feat for Detroit against the Islanders on Feb. 26, 1983.

"It's a pretty incredible feat," Colorado coach Tony Granato said. "Both those guys should be very excited, proud to have done it, and to do it together I think will make that memory that much more special."

Michael Cammalleri and Rene Bourque had goals for Calgary, which lost for the second consecutive night. The Flames, who were defeated at home by Phoenix on Saturday, hadn't lost two in a row since early November. Curtis McElhinney received a rare start and finished with 33 saves.

"Anytime guys score 300 goals in this League, hats off to them," said Cammalleri, whose goal was his 20th of the season. "I just wish it wasn't against us."

Cammalleri lit the lamp on a 5-on-3 power play 10:22 into the second to make it a 2-1 game, and the Flames were on another man advantage and pressing for the tying score when Smyth shifted the momentum. A pass from Jordan Leopold sent him into the Calgary zone on an odd-man rush, and he beat McElhinney from the right side at the 13-minute mark for what ended up as the game-winning goal.

"It's obviously special to share this night here with Hedgy," said Smyth, who scored the first 265 goals of his career with the Oilers and added five in a brief stint with the Islanders before signing with the Avalanche. "It's nice to win. It makes it feel better in the locker room."

Hejduk, a 10-year veteran who has played all 747 games of his career with the Avalanche, struck on a power play with 2:16 left in the second. He became the fourth player in franchise history to score 300 goals, joining Joe Sakic (625), Michel Goulet (456) and Peter Stastny (380).

"If you look at Joe's numbers, it's nothing," Hejduk said, grinning.

Bourque cut the Avalanche lead to 4-2 by scoring 5:30 into the third, but Salei got that goal back with 4:33 remaining and McLeod added some window dressing with one second left.

Penguins 3, Rangers 0 | Video

Perhaps a few days out of the Eastern Conference's top eight put a scare into Pittsburgh. The Penguins' play over the past week has been more on par with last season's Stanley Cup finalist than the team that hit a major crash after Christmas.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33 shots to record his 13th career shutout and the Penguins got captain Sidney Crosby back in Sunday's win over New York.

Crosby, who suffered an apparent knee injury Wednesday against Washington and missed Friday's game against Anaheim, was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist on a penalty shot in the second period. His five-game scoring streak came to an end, but the Penguins won for the third time in four tries after losing seven of eight. Their 50 points are one more than Florida for eighth in the East.

"The leg felt pretty good. Hopefully it's better, but we'll see tomorrow," Crosby said. "We got some big goals, (Fleury) played great, we didn't give up a ton of scoring chances, and when we did he was there to shut the door."

Chris Minard scored his first goal of the season and second in 27 career NHL games to give Fleury all the offense he would need. Petr Sykora, who assisted on the play, added a power-play goal and Tyler Kennedy also tallied. The Penguins have gone 12 games, including playoffs, without losing to the Rangers in regulation at Mellon Arena.

"He played well (Sunday)," Therrien said. "I like the way he was focused. I like the way he's square to the puck. He doesn't have to make spectacular saves and that's a great sign because of his position. If you want to win in this League, you need great goaltending. And he did a great job again today."

Fleury's strong stops included one on Markus Naslund late in the first period and a denial of Chris Drury from right in front during a 4-on-3 New York power play in the second. After being announced as the game's first star, Fleury came out wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers helmet -- the NFL team made it to the Super Bowl later in the day by beating Baltimore.

"I think this was similar to last game and the (win against Philadelphia on Tuesday)," Fleury said. "The guys did a great job of not giving them too many scoring chances and we got some turnovers, got chances. We got some goals early, so that was a big game for us."

Minard scored from the slot 7:35 into the first, one-timing a Sykora feed to get the Penguins started. Kennedy gave them a 2-0 lead with 4:28 left in the period by skating in from the right point and beating Lundqvist from the top of the faceoff circle.

"That little extra intensity wasn't really there for us," Lundqvist said. "I think the way they played, they made it pretty tough for us to get that edge. They slowed it down and just were waiting for mistakes. If we had gotten the first goal, maybe it's a different game, but once they got a 2-0 lead they played smart after that."

Lundqvist got the better of Crosby on his penalty shot attempt 1:52 into the second, but Sykora made the Rangers pay for a Scott Gomez hooking penalty when he got behind the defense, took a Ryan Whitney feed and put a wrist shot in the net for his 17th of the season.

The Rangers' three-game winning streak ended and they stayed one point ahead of New Jersey and Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division. Without taking away from Fleury's performance, Naslund said the Blueshirts simply weren't good enough.

"He played a strong game, but I don't think we tested him enough," Naslund said. "I don't think we got in to get real quality chances. He was strong, but I think we didn't have our 'A' game."

Oilers 6, Coyotes 3 | Video

Ethan Moreau made sure it was a happy ending to a night that began with festivities honoring former Edmonton great Glenn Anderson, as he recorded his first career hat trick to help topple Phoenix in front of a rabid crowd at Rexall Place.

"Every game is the biggest game of the year. Especially beating a division team like Calgary that we lost four straight before. It's a great victory, it's a four-point hockey game because of the division, and hopefully we're going to start a winning streak right now. We've got the homestand and the great schedule, so you've got to take advantage of it." -- Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj
Ales Hemsky scored twice in his return after missing 10 games with a concussion and Dustin Penner had the game-winner as the Oilers stayed a point in front of Columbus for eighth in the Western Conference, two ahead of Northwest Division rivals Minnesota and Colorado.

''It's even more special because all of my teammates were looking for me at the end,'' said Moreau, whose third goal was into an empty net with a second remaining. ''I knew when Stevie (Staios) got it he would be thinking about one thing -- trying to get me the puck. It makes you feel good that they were very aware that I had two goals and they wanted to see me get the hat trick.''

The Coyotes went up 1-0 on Keith Yandle's goal and rallied from a 3-1 deficit on scores by Daniel Carcillo and Peter Mueller before falling.

''I thought as a team we played pretty well tonight,'' coach Wayne Gretzky said. ''We're playing against a team in a similar situation that we're in. We're battling for our lives and every game is important. We knew that it was a big night for their organization and their players are going to feed off of that and they played well tonight.''

Anderson, a Hall of Famer who played 11 seasons and won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers in their dynasty days, had his No. 9 raised to the rafters in a pre-game ceremony.

Edmonton then fired up the fans by rallying for three straight goals after Yandle banged a rebound past Dwayne Roloson 5:30 into the first. Moreau tied the score when he followed up a Tom Gilbert shot at 8:45, Hemsky split the Phoenix defense and beat Ilya Bryzgalov with a deke at 11:53 and Moreau came through again with one minute to play in the period, deflecting in Gilbert's pass for a 3-1 lead.

''We haven't had an energetic game like that all year,'' Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. ''It was a pretty complete game on our part tonight. All of the lines were good. The team's turning a corner now, I think.''

Carcillo and Mueller brought the Coyotes back, netting goals 2:35 apart in the second. Carcillo tapped in a Kyle Turris feed at 6:04 following a turnover behind the Oilers net, then Mueller finished off a 2-on-1 break with Olli Jokinen.

Penner broke the tie with 7:59 left in the middle period, taking Shawn Horcoff's backhand pass in front and rifling the puck past Bryzgalov. Edmonton carried the 4-3 lead into the third and added an insurance goal when Hemsky put in a wrister with 1:37 remaining.

''I'm very happy to come back like this,'' Hemsky said. ''I took a couple hits in the game and my head reacted well, so I'm pretty happy about that. I knew it would be tough coming back from this, but I got a goal pretty early on and that really gave me confidence.''

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

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