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Richardson, Theodore help Avalanche beat Blue Jackets again

Nov 2, 2006 - 2:38 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- With the Columbus Blue Jackets looking to mount a major comeback, Brad Richardson literally stole the momentum.

Richardson thwarted a rally with a critical goal late in the third period as the Colorado Avalanche continued their eternal mastery of the Blue Jackets with a 5-3 victory.

Despite nearly squandering a three-goal lead, Colorado managed to improve to 19-0-1-1 all-time against Columbus, outscoring the Blue Jackets by an ugly 86-29 margin.

"Obviously they have had some success over us," said Blue Jackets star Rick Nash, who committed the turnover that led to Richardson's goal. "It's the same thing, just different each year with different players. ... Obviously it would be nice to beat them some time."

Fredrik Modin scored late in the second period and David Vyborny tallied with 5:39 remaining in the contest to draw Columbus within 4-3. But shortly thereafter, Richardson stole the puck from Nash and beat goaltender Pascal Leclaire with a perfect shot just under the crossbar.

"I was just trying to play good defensive hockey," Richardson said. "But (Nash) tried to make a move and kind of fumbled it a bit. Luckily I grabbed it from him."

"It was my mistake and I take full blame for it," Nash said. "I tried to get by him and he picked my pocket and that's the end of it."

Jose Theodore made the lead stand despite a barrage of shots in the final minutes. He finished with a season-high 41 saves to improve to 4-3-1.

Theodore actually had to withstand a rare 6-on-3 disadvantage down the stretch. Colorado committed a pair of penalties and Columbus pulled Leclaire with 3:06 remaining, but Theodore held his ground in impressive fashion.

"You have to be prepared for all situations," Theodore said. "Tonight (the Blue Jackets) were struggling. They work hard, they throw everything at the net. They have a lot of skilled players, but we didn't panic and we got the win."

Wojtek Wolski, Brett McLean, Joe Sakic and Mark Rycroft also scored for the Avalanche, who have won five of their last seven games.

Wolski's goal was a pretty give-and-go with fellow rookie Paul Stastny, and McLean's was even nicer as Ian Laperriere made a nifty touch pass between his legs on a 3-on-2 rush that set up McLean's second tally of the season.

Sakic made it 3-1 early in the second period when Andrew Brunette found him with a pass from behind the net. Rycroft scored his first of the season late in the middle session when he chipped a bad-angle rebound under Leclaire's arm.

"I think that's the second game where we have had almost every line chipping in offensively," Stastny said. "We've also been solid defensively. The deeper we are, the better we'll be in the long run."

Leclaire finished with 17 saves for the Blue Jackets, who went 1-for-9 with the power play in losing for the fifth time in six contests.

"I was happy with a lot of things and I think it was a positive step," Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said. "But you can't give up five goals. We beat ourselves tonight."

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