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Avs blow late lead, extend worst-ever home start

11/9/2002

DENVER (AP) _ The Colorado Avalanche tried to sit on a lead to end their worst start ever at home. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks wouldn't allow it.

Niclas Havelid scored 20 seconds into overtime as Anaheim beat Colorado 3-2 Friday night, extending the Avalanche's winless streak at home seven games.

Colorado seemed in control behind goalie David Aebischer, but
managed just six shots and allowed three power plays in the third
period.

The Mighty Ducks took advantage, tying the game with less than
four minutes left and ending it on Havelid's first goal in 366
days.

"Teams in this league that don't have respect for you play like they did in the third period,'' Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. "They put their hands in the air not expecting you to be able to come back.''

Colorado seemed to get complacent with a 2-1 lead in the third
period and continued to struggle on the power play to lose its
third straight. The Avalanche are the only Western Conference team
without a win at home (0-4-3). Atlanta also has not won at home.

"It's certainly not fun,'' Colorado coach Bob Hartley said.

Colorado, one of the league's best on the power play last
season, is one of the worst this year. The Avalanche entered the
game 26th in the league at 12 percent -- 10.5 at home -- and made it
worse by failing on all six attempts against Anaheim.

"The chances are there and we're not putting it in. That's all
there is too it,'' Colorado's Joe Sakic said.

Anaheim's Ruslan Salei tied it at 2-all with 3:25 left in
regulation on a shot from near the blue line that Aebischer
couldn't see through traffic.

Havelid beat Aebischer to the gloveside for the winner,
one-timing a pass from Paul Kariya for his first goal since Nov. 7,
2001, against Calgary.

"I didn't have much time to think about it,'' Havelid said. "I
tried to get my stick there and put it over the goalie. I never saw
it. I ran into a few players and looked around and saw it was in.''

Aebischer, who had allowed eight goals in two games in place of
injured Patrick Roy, stopped 27 shots. He is winless in five games
this season, but Hartley deflected the blame elsewhere.

"Our problem is not between the posts, it's between the ears,''
Hartley said. "That is where our problem is right now. You cannot
fault David Aebischer for tonight's game.''

Radim Vrbata put Colorado up 2-1 with 3:20 left in the second
period, one-timing a pass from Martin Skoula just a few seconds
after a power play ended. It was his fourth of the season.

Colorado's Alex Tanguay opened the scoring 7:22 in, beating
Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a backhander between the pads on a
breakaway for his second goal of the season.

Patric Kjellberg tied it 1:15 into the second, beating Aebischer
over the left shoulder on a power play for his first goal of the
season.

The Avalanche had plenty of chances to extend the lead in the first period -- a 16-9 advantage in shots -- but couldn't get the puck by Giguere. Their struggling power play didn't help either.

Giguere made a tough stop on a quick one-timer by Sakic early,
then turned away successive close-range shots by Tanguay and Sakic
on a power play. He also made a nice play to knock Tanguay off the
puck on another power play late.

Giguere stopped 28 shots.

The crowd even booed Colorado during a power play in the second when Skoula ran into Steven Reinprecht behind the Avalanche's net. The Avalanche were 0-for-3 with a man advantage in the first period.

Colorado played without top defenseman Rob Blake, who sustained
a groin injury Wednesday against Ottawa. Then the Avalanche lost
forward Milan Hejduk late in the first after a shot by Sakic hit
him on the right ear.

Game notes
Roy missed his third consecutive game with a sore left hip.
... Colorado's previous worst start at home was 0-1-3 in 1980. ...
Anaheim's Mike Brown and D.J. Smith of Colorado got into a fight in
the second period, but they eventually gave up after neither was
able to land a solid punch. ... Sakic had an assist on Vrbata's
goal, giving him nine points in six games. ... Anaheim's Steve
Rucchin had a seven-game points streak end.