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Svatos scores twice as Avalanche post first victory

Oct 9, 2006 - 2:49 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Marek Svatos' aggressive play on the offensive end finally pushed the Colorado Avalanche over the top.

Svatos scored a pair of goals, including the go-ahead tally in the third period, and captain Joe Sakic collected two assists to lead the Avalanche to their first win of the season, a 3-2 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks.

After opening the campaign with overtime losses to Dallas and Minnesota, Colorado scored three power-play goals to hand the Canucks their first defeat.

"Certainly it's better to think of the good times and the first two games, we didn't get anything to show for a couple of pretty good efforts," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said.

"We lost two in overtime and that's not the best feeling to lose a game in overtime," Svatos added. "It was a good win tonight."

The 24-year-old Svatos, who tied Sakic for the team lead with 32 goals despite missing the last 20 games of his rookie season in 2005-06 with a fractured right shoulder, took advantage of Henrik Sedin's hooking penalty to put Colorado in front for good.

After taking a pass from Sakic, Andrew Brunette sent a short feed to Svatos that glanced off his leg in front of the crease and slid past goaltender Roberto Luongo for his second goal of the game and the season with 5:44 to play.

"It was a screen in front of the net and I think I kicked it with my leg and it went in off my leg," Svatos said. "It was a lucky goal. But in the end, it's a great feeling to have a game-winner."

"When the puck came out, I tried to grab it with my stick and it went just a little bit too far," Luongo said. "Svatos was right there and he banged it right in through my legs. I was caught in the middle and unable to bring my stick back in time to cover up."

Svatos combined with Sakic for his first tally at 2:48 of the second period while defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick was off for hooking. The Slovakian right wing lifted his own rebound just under the crossbar to snap a 1-1 tie.

Former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner Jose Theodore made 26 saves for the Avalanche, who ended a three-game losing streak against the Canucks and defeated them for the 50th time in 103 all-time meetings.

"All the credit to the guys because I thought their energy was really good tonight," Theodore said. "Obviously, it's good to get the win. The guys played really well the last minute. They didn't allow too many shots."

Vancouver opened the scoring at 5:57 of the first period when Theodore made a pad save on defenseman Lukas Krajicek's shot in front before Daniel Sedin knocked in the rebound for his third goal of the season.

Colorado tied the game with 7:18 left in the opening session after Vancouver's Josh Green was called for tripping. Luongo stopped consecutive shots by rookies Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny before Wolski netted his second tally of the campaign.

Canucks captain Markus Naslund tied the score with 37 seconds to go in the second session when he slid the rebound of Henrik Sedin's wrister from near the left point between Theodore's pads for his second goal of the season.

"We dominated the third, there was no doubt about it," Naslund said. "We gave them a couple of power plays and that was the difference. Then we got a power play at the end and couldn't capitalize on that one."

Colorado's bid to take a 3-2 lead before the second intermission failed when Ian Laperriere's goal was disallowed because an official blew his whistle to call a hooking infraction on Vancouver's Jan Bulis.

"We won the game and that's all that matters," Laperriere said. "It would have been something else if we would have tied or lost the game, but we won and that's all that mattered."

Luongo stopped 32 shots for Vancouver, which had a chance to open the season with three straight wins for the first time since 1999-2000.

"(The penalty kill) is an area in which we need to work on and improve," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "Tonight, that was the difference. They were three similar goals, all little passes from behind the net that our (defensemen) and our forwards couldn't put the handle on."

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