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Aebischer, Brodeur stymied both offenses

DENVER (AP) -- Martin Brodeur made the saves when he had to in a
tight-checking game.

Then again, so did Colorado's David Aebischer.

Aebischer stopped 27 shots, matching Brodeur almost save for
save in Colorado's 1-1 tie with the New Jersey Devils on Sunday
night.

"He was there when we needed him," Colorado's Teemu Selanne
said. "That's what good goaltenders do."

Brodeur has won three Stanley Cup titles and is considered the
NHL's best big-game goalie now that Patrick Roy has retired.

Aebischer, Roy's replacement, showed he can come up with the big
saves late in games, too.

He turned away 14 shots in the second period, then opened the
third by blocking Scott Stevens' hard shot from the point.
Aebischer then stuffed John Madden's one-timer from just outside
the crease and made perhaps his best save late in overtime by
squeezing Jeff Friesen's shot on a short breakaway.

Aebischer is 7-1-1 his last nine starts and leads the league
with 13 wins.

"He is getting better and he's getting more confidence,"
Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "He has done what we
expected."

Of course, Brodeur was right there with him.

He opened the third period by stopping Jordan Krestanovich and
Rob Blake on consecutive shots, then got his stick over just in
time to block Travis Brigley's shot from just outside the crease
midway through.

Brodeur also dived to poke the puck from Milan Hejduk a few
seconds later, stopped a Colorado power play that started with 2½
minutes left and blocked a tipped shot in overtime.

"It's important when you go on the road you give your team a
chance to win, and that's what I did tonight," said Brodeur, who
stopped 25 shots to improve to 10-1-3 his past 14 starts.

Hejduk opened the scoring with 4:29 left in the second period,
one-timing a pass from Alex Tanguay over a sprawled Brodeur for his
14th of the season.

Andrei Nikolishin set up the goal by squeezing a pass between
two defenders near the blue line.

New Jersey needed just 1:13 to answer on a pinball shot by Erik Rasmussen.

Rasmussen wound up with the puck between the circles after a
shot by Paul Martin bounced around through traffic. Aebischer
stretched to block Rasmussen's shot with the inside of his right
leg, but it caromed back off his left leg and trickled into the
net.

It was Rasmussen's first point of the season and his first goal
since last Feb. 5.

"It's not a bad time," Rasmussen said. "The biggest thing was
contributing to the team."

Neither team had many scoring chances in a tight-checking first
period -- 13 combined shots -- but New Jersey picked up the pace in
the second. So did Aebischer.

He opened by gloving Stevens' hard shot from the left circle,
then turned away five more to kill off Martin Skoula's four-minute
high-sticking penalty. Aebischer followed by stopping Turner
Stevenson from the left faceoff dot, and made a stick save on Brian
Gionta on a short breakaway.

"Both goaltenders were very good," Devils coach Pat Burns
said. "We had some excellent scoring chances and Aebischer make
some good saves around the net."

Blake nearly beat Brodeur from the blue line in the first minute
of the second period, but Colorado didn't have another shot until
Brodeur kicked away Nikolishin's shot with 6½ minutes left.

Game notes
Colorado C Cody McCormick didn't play after breaking his
left ring finger in a fight Thursday night against Calgary. ... The
Avalanche placed C Peter Forsberg on injured reserve with an
abdominal muscle strain before the game, but he isn't expected to
be there long. The move was retroactive to Nov. 9, meaning Forsberg
could have played against the Devils. ... New Jersey RW Jamie
Langenbrunner will be out two to three weeks after having knee
surgery Sunday. ... Nikolishin, back after missing three games with
a sprained knee, played in his 600th NHL game.