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Hejduk scores twice as Avalanche top Wild

Oct 30, 2006 - 3:37 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Milan Hejduk recent productive play is leading to greater success for the Colorado Avalanche.

Hejduk scored twice and Tyler Arnason added his fourth of the season to lead the Avalanche to their fourth win in six games, a 4-1 triumph over the Minnesota Wild.

Avenging a 3-2 loss to Minnesota on October 5, Colorado finished its three-game homestand on a winning note and denied the Wild in their bid for the first 10-win month in franchise history.

"We needed this win to get back on the winning track," Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore said. "We know Minnesota is one of the best teams in the league, and with the way we played tonight, we just showed everybody and proved to ourselves that we can play with anybody if we can play like that."

Hejduk, who has 10 points in his last eight games, recorded his second multi-goal game of the campaign. The Czech netted a pair in Monday's 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Colorado opened the scoring at 5:02 of the first period. Goaltender Manny Fernandez stopped consecutive shots by defenseman John-Michael Liles and rookie Paul Stastny before Hejduk knocked in the second rebound attempt.

"I thought our puck pursuit was excellent," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "Scoring first against anybody, particularly against that team, really helps."

Arnason doubled the margin with 1:32 left in the opening session by weaving his way around the defense before beating Fernandez to the glove side.

After Pavol Demitra halved the deficit with 8:16 left in the second period on a power play, Hejduk answered 56 seconds later while the Avalanche had a man advantage, firing a one-timer of Wojtek Wolski's centering feed for his sixth of the season.

"Sometimes you are in the right spot, sometimes not," Hejduk said. "I found the spots. It's a weird game."

Hejduk's second tally of the game snapped Minnesota's streak of 35 successful penalty kills. The Wild entered with a league-low 17 goals allowed.

"We were talking about playing a complete game from start to finish," Quenneville said. "That's as good as we can play from start to finish. I thought we got real good efforts, real consistent efforts."

Ian Laperriere scored his 100th career goal with 2:49 left and Theodore made 20 saves to raise his record to 3-3-1 after sitting out the last two contests.

"(Brett) McLean and Arnason kept feeding me for the past few games," Laperriere said. "It's not like I didn't bear down, but I am just happy it's over, and now I have to think about number two (of the season) instead of number 100."

Fernandez, who entered with a league-best 1.57 goals-against average, stopped 32 shots for the Wild, who lost for just the second time in 11 games.

"Every time we started to get just a little momentum, something happened," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "And (Colorado) played a great game. They didn't give us a chance to come back. ... We lost every battle."

"We didn't have our speed today and that's why they looked faster," Minnesota defemseman Kim Johnsson said. "It was just a poor, poor game from us. We have to learn from this and make sure this never happens again."

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