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Thrashers beat Avs in OT for sixth straight win

by Rick Sadowski /
DENVER – Putting two high-powered offenses on the same slab of ice doesn't always result in a gaggle of goals.

But it seemed fitting that Anthony Stewart would collect the game-winner Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center, scoring at 1:49 of overtime to give the Atlanta Thrashers their franchise-record sixth consecutive win, a 3-2 decision over the Colorado Avalanche.

Stewart is the older brother of Avalanche right wing Chris Stewart, who has 11 goals and is on injured reserve with a broken left hand.

"It's unfortunate that he wasn't out there," Anthony Stewart said. "But injuries are a part of the game and I got to spend some quality time with him at his house, and it was good to see him."

But he never did see his shot elude Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj.

"I heard the crowd go 'Ah,' so I thought I must have hit someone in the face or something," he said. "Then I saw the guys with their arms up, so I guess it must have gone in."

Stewart said he was trying to pass the puck to Dustin Byfuglien after skating from behind the net.

"You put it on net and funny things happen," he said. "This is the first time in pro hockey that I've ever won six in a row. It's exciting to come to a game and to the rink every day. We've got that winning attitude."

Byfuglien picked up an assist on the play after tying the game with 6:12 to play in regulation with a hard shot from the right point during a delayed penalty after his first shot knocked down Colorado forward David Jones.

"Everyone sort of backed up and gave me time to load up and I nailed it," said Byfuglien, who had nine of the Thrashers' 31 shots and leads all NHL defensemen in scoring with 10 goals and 27 points.

The Thrashers had to kill off a tripping penalty to Nik Antropov that began with 1:01 remaining in regulation and carried into the extra period.

"When you have a four-on-three (in overtime) with the amount of time that we had … we just didn't generate enough chances," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "It wasn’t good enough, and then they came down and capitalized with the winner."

Told that Stewart said he was trying to make a pass when he scored, Sacco said: "You put pucks on the net and good things happen. That's what he did."
The Avalanche took a 2-1 lead with third-period goals from Duchene, who has scored in four games in a row, and Jones.

After corralling the puck in the neutral zone following a Thrashers turnover, Duchene skated into the left faceoff circle and whipped the puck between goalie Ondrej Pavelec's pads at 1:43.

Jones connected for a power-play goal at 10:10 when he deflected Kevin Shattenkirk's shot from the left point into the net.

The Thrashers grabbed a 1-0 lead on Rich Peverley's goal at 10:41 of the first period. Peverley surprised Budaj with a bad-angle shot from the lower portion of the left circle.

Pavelec kept his team in front with a couple of huge stops. He made a save against Brandon Yip, who had plenty of open ice in the first period, and robbed Kevin Porter's point-blank blast on a power play in the second period.

Pavelec, who made 29 saves, has been in net for all six games during the winning streak. He’s permitted five goals and recorded two shutouts.

Pavelec broke the record for consecutive wins by a goalie that he shared with Johan Headberg, who accomplished the feat in 2009. Pavelec has stopped 230 of 238 shots during the streak.

"I thought we played well in the second and third periods," Sacco said. "In the first period, we weren't really skating, using our legs. We woke up in the second period and in the third period we played well as a team."

The Avalanche played without forward Tomas Fleischmann, who was acquired earlier in the day from Washington in exchange for defenseman Scott Hannan.
Fleischmann will join his new teammates Wednesday at practice and make his Avalanche debut Friday in Carolina when the team opens a five-game road trip.
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