for this game

Avalanche edge Canucks in Forsberg's return

Mar 5, 2008 - 6:25 AM
DENVER (Ticker) -- Defenseman John-Michael Liles made Peter Forsberg's return to the Colorado Avalanche a successful one.

Liles snapped a tie early in the third period with a power-play goal as the Avalanche skated to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

Paul Stastny also scored, Andrew Brunette recorded two assists and Jose Theodore made 26 saves for Colorado (35-26-6), which has won four in a row and jumped ahead of Vancouver (32-24-10) for seventh place in the Western Conference.

"It's nice to be where we're at right now, and we just have to keep winning and climbing," Avalanche captain Joe Sakic said. "It's a huge win for us, but there's still a long way to go down the stretch. We have to keep winning. A four-game winning streak in our conference will move you up a couple of spots (in the standings)."

"It's always huge when you win in regulation," Theodore said. "We're aware of the standings. They're really tight, so every game is like a playoff game for us."

Ryan Shannon tallied and Roberto Luongo stopped 29 shots for the Canucks, who fell to 0-2-2 in their last four games.

"We've shown a lot of character all year long," Luongo said. "There's no bigger game than the next one. We have to make sure we regroup and get ready. ... We still control our own destiny, so we have to make sure we win some games."

Appearing in his first game with the Avalanche since April 4, 2004 after signing a contract for the remainder of the season on February 25, Forsberg did not record a point but made it through his season debut unscathed.

After nursing foot and ankle injuries since the 2006-07 Stanley Cup playoffs, the former Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner recorded three shots on goal on 22 shifts that totaled just under 20 minutes of ice time.

"It's been a long time since I've played," the 34-year-old Forsberg said. "Of course you want to get a goal or an assist, but I'm just happy we won the game. That's all that matters right now. Hopefully, I can recover for the next game (on Thursday). ... I was just happy that I was out there and was part of the win."

"I think I probably played him more than I anticipated going into the game," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "A lot of that was the way the game was being played, and how he was playing dictated how much (ice time) he got. It was tough to keep him off the ice."

Forsberg saw time on a line with Sakic, who was glad to have him back.

"I thought for the first game, he was great to play with," Sakic said. "I thought it went pretty well for the first game. But I think the chemistry is going to get better as we start playing more."

With the game even at 1-1 after two periods, Colorado took advantage of an early power play in the third to move ahead. From the left point, Liles unleashed a slap shot that deflected off the skate of a sliding Matt Pettinger and past Luongo at 2:27, giving the Avalanche the lead for good.

"Bruno (Brunette) fed it back to me and I saw a lane," Liles said. "Just tried to shoot it as hard as possible. Their guy kind of laid down and I was trying to get it up a little bit. It just nicked off his skate, I think, and kind of went over Luongo. It got tipped a little bit and went high. It started a foot and a half off the ice."

"They got a break on their second goal," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "Matt made a great effort to try and block the shot, and it went off his foot, hit the crossbar and went in."

Colorado opened the scoring midway through the first period on Stastny's 20th goal of the season. Stastny took a drop pass from Wojtek Wolski in the left faceoff circle, waited for Brunette to create a screen in front of Luongo and beat the goaltender high to the glove side with a wrist shot at 9:12.

Wolski, who had been a healthy scratch for each of the last two games and three of the previous five, was in the lineup due to injuries to Marek Svatos and Ryan Smyth.

With the tally, Stastny joined Svatos and Milan Hejduk as 20-goal scorers for Colorado.

Luongo made several good saves in the first period, the best of which came when he gloved Sakic's wrist shot from the left circle with 2:01 left. Sakic took Forsberg's drop pass, waited for his linemate to drive toward the net and tried to beat Luongo inside the far goalpost.

Luongo was impressed with Forsberg's effectiveness.

"He generated a lot of scoring chances," Luongo said. "He didn't seem too rusty. I made a few saves on him. It was not only his shots, he made some good passing plays and created some scoring chances for his guys."

Shannon tied the game during a power play with 62 seconds remaining in the second period. Defenseman Sami Salo made a pass from the blue line to Shannon, who converted from alone on the left side of the net.

"It kind of looked like (Salo) was going to pass it across the blue line for a shot," Shannon said. "I think he surprised their forward, their defenseman and the goaltender when he fired it down. I got a lucky bounce off the inside of my leg and right to my tape. It was easy to put it in."

The Canucks have scored just six goals during their four-game winless streak.

"Offensively, our guys are squeezing the stick a little bit," Vigneault said. "It's not going in for us right now. I'm confident that they'll come out of it soon."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 1 0 1
    COLORADO 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - PAUL STASTNY 20 (WOJTEK WOLSKI, JORDAN LEOPOLD) 9:12
    2ND PRD: VAN - (PP) RYAN SHANNON 4 (SAMI SALO, HENRIK SEDIN) 18:58
    3RD PRD: COL - (PP) JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 3 (ANDREW BRUNETTE, TYLER
    ARNASON) 2:28
    POWER-PLAY

    Mar 5 12:00 AM
  • 25
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Canucks 1, Avalanche 2  3rd - 2:22Mar 4 11:54 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 1
    COLORADO 2
    3RD PRD: COL - (PP) JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 3 (ANDREW BRUNETTE, TYLER
    ARNASON) 2:28

    Canucks 1, Avalanche 2  3rd - 17:32Mar 4 11:31 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 1 1
    COLORADO 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - PAUL STASTNY 20 (WOJTEK WOLSKI, JORDAN LEOPOLD) 9:12
    2ND PRD: VAN - (PP) RYAN SHANNON 4 (SAMI SALO, HENRIK SEDIN) 18:58
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VAN 9 8

    Mar 4 11:22 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 1
    COLORADO 1
    2ND PRD: VAN - (PP) RYAN SHANNON 4 (SAMI SALO, HENRIK SEDIN) 18:58

    Canucks 1, Avalanche 1  2nd - 1:02Mar 4 11:06 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 0 0
    COLORADO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - PAUL STASTNY 20 (WOJTEK WOLSKI, JORDAN LEOPOLD) 9:12
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VAN 9 9
    COL 11 11
    GOALIES: VAN - ROBERTO LUONGO

    Mar 4 10:12 PM
  • 10
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    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Canucks 0, Avalanche 1  1st - 10:48Mar 4 10:00 PM


  • NHL
    VANCOUVER 0
    COLORADO 1
    1ST PRD: COL - PAUL STASTNY 20 (WOJTEK WOLSKI, JORDAN LEOPOLD) 9:12

    Canucks 0, Avalanche 1  1st - 10:48Mar 4 9:56 PM
  • 5
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    Sensfan4eva Added 5 roots

    Canucks vs. AvalancheMar 1 11:57 PM