for this game

Jones has big night as Avalanche roll

Mar 12, 2008 - 3:09 AM
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Colorado Avalanche did not need Peter Forsberg in order to continue their hot pace. Rookie David Jones was more than capable of filling in.

Jones scored his first career goal and added a pair of assists as the Avalanche posted their seventh win in eight games Tuesday, a 5-2 victory over the hapless Atlanta Thrashers.

Captain Joe Sakic also had a goal and two assists while former Thrasher Andrew Brunette tallied twice for the Avalanche (38-27-6), who moved ahead of the idle Calgary Flames (36-23-10) for first place in the Northwest Division by virtue of more wins.

"I don't think there's any opportunity to feel complacent," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "One day you're in third (place in the Western Conference), the next you're in eighth and the ninth-place team is right there. We've got to take care of our own business. Whoever does best within this division is going to have the best chance of winning it."

Colorado has been bitten by the injury bug more than most clubs this season, losing 269 man-games. It entered Tuesday without a number of important players, including the newly added Forsberg, who missed his second straight contest with a groin ailment.

But Jones, Sakic and Brunette made sure the Avalanche ended up in the victory column after this one.

A ninth-round pick in 2003 who was entering with one point in 15 career games, Jones essentially put the game out of reach midway through the second period with his first NHL goal. The 23-year-old received a backhand pass from Sakic in the low slot and fired the puck past goaltender Johan Hedberg at 9:45 for a 4-1 lead.

"The first goal is a huge one," Jones said. "It felt great. We had our fair share of injuries with a lot of our top players. But the guys from Lake Erie (of the American Hockey League) have worked out."

Jones also factored in Colorado's first two tallies.

Less than five minutes into the opening period, Hedberg pushed the puck along the boards before it was intercepted by Jones. The rookie made a strong move across the crease before finding Brunette, who wristed the puck into a vacant right side of the net from the doorstep at 4:47 to give the Avalanche a 1-0 edge.

Jones helped double the advantage just over three minutes later, when he took advantage of Atlanta defenseman Garnet Exelby's turnover and fed Sakic in the right faceoff circle. The veteran blasted a wrist shot past Hedberg at 7:53 for his 11th goal of the season.

"I think (Jones) played really well," Sakic said. "He's got size, he's got speed, he goes to the net hard and handles the puck well. He played really well tonight."

Jones credited Sakic with helping him make the adjustment to the NHL.

"He's a phenomenal player," Jones said. "I have to pinch myself each time I play with him. I learn a lot from him every game."

After Colby Armstrong halved the deficit at 9:20 of the first, Milan Hejduk made it 3-1 just 48 seconds into the middle period by redirecting defenseman Scott Hannan's slap pass from the left circle past Hedberg.

Brunette cashed in during a power play with 2:20 remaining in the second to give Colorado a 5-1 bulge.

Erik Christensen scored less than four minutes into the third, but it was too little, too late for the Thrashers, who fell to 1-6-4 in their last 11 games.

"This is the worst game we have played in a long time," Atlanta coach Don Waddell said. "We gave up some soft goals early in the game. This is the first time we were not prepared. We were not mentally in the game."

Jose Theodore turned aside 22 shots for the Avalanche, who improved to 8-1-0 against Eastern Conference opponents.

Hedberg allowed five goals on 23 shots in two periods before being replaced by Kari Lehtonen, who stopped all six shots he faced in the third.

Atlanta (30-33-8), which has not recorded a regulation victory since February 2 at Washington, remained 11 points behind idle Carolina (37-29-5) for first place in the Southeast Division.

"It's up to us (to turn things around," Thrashers captain Bobby Holik said. "Everything is a challenge to us."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 2 3 0 5
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 16 (DAVID JONES) 4:47
    COL - JOE SAKIC 10 (DAVID JONES) 7:53
    ATL - COLBY ARMSTRONG 11 (UNASSISTED) 9:20
    2ND PRD: COL - MILAN HEJDUK 22 (SCOTT HANNAN, JAROSLAV HLINKA) 0:48
    COL - DAVID JONES 1 (JOE

    Mar 11 9:23 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 5
    ATLANTA 2
    3RD PRD: ATL - ERIK CHRISTENSEN 11 (ERIC PERRIN, COLBY ARMSTRONG) 3:52

    Avalanche 5, Thrashers 2  3rd - 16:08Mar 11 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 2 3 5
    ATLANTA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 16 (DAVID JONES) 4:47
    COL - JOE SAKIC 10 (DAVID JONES) 7:53
    ATL - COLBY ARMSTRONG 11 (UNASSISTED) 9:20
    2ND PRD: COL - MILAN HEJDUK 22 (SCOTT HANNAN, JAROSLAV HLINKA) 0:48
    COL - DAVID

    Mar 11 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 5
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 17 (JOE SAKIC) 17:40

    Avalanche 5, Thrashers 1  2nd - 2:20Mar 11 8:30 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 4
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: COL - DAVID JONES 1 (JOE SAKIC, JOSE THEODORE) 9:45

    Avalanche 4, Thrashers 1  2nd - 10:15Mar 11 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 3
    ATLANTA 1
    2ND PRD: COL - MILAN HEJDUK 22 (SCOTT HANNAN, JAROSLAV HLINKA) 0:48

    Avalanche 3, Thrashers 1  2nd - 19:12Mar 11 8:01 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 2 2
    ATLANTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 16 (DAVID JONES) 4:47
    COL - JOE SAKIC 10 (DAVID JONES) 7:53
    ATL - COLBY ARMSTRONG 11 (UNASSISTED) 9:20
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 12

    Mar 11 7:44 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    ATLANTA 1
    1ST PRD: ATL - COLBY ARMSTRONG 11 (UNASSISTED) 9:20

    Avalanche 2, Thrashers 1  1st - 10:40Mar 11 7:38 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: COL - JOE SAKIC 10 (DAVID JONES) 7:53

    Avalanche 2, Thrashers 0  1st - 12:07Mar 11 7:37 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    ATLANTA 0
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 16 (UNASSISTED) 4:47

    Avalanche 1, Thrashers 0  1st - 15:13Mar 11 7:16 PM