<
>

Hejduk, Avs squeak past struggling Blues in shootout

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Milan Hejduk gave Colorado coach Joel Quenneville his first victory in St. Louis since he was fired by the Blues in February 2004.

Hejduk scored the only goal in a shootout to lead the Avalanche to a 2-1 victory over the Blues on Tuesday night.

"It's great to be back, I love it here in St. Louis," Quenneville said. "It was a special day. It's good to be back behind the bench coaching a game here."

David Aebischer made 23 saves for the victory, and Curtis Sanford stopped 22 shots for the Blues in their first home game since Feb. 4.

Christian Backman broke a scoreless tie 4:44 into the third period, whistling a slap shot from the top of the circle past a screened Aebischer. The goal came with Colorado's Kurt Sauer off for hooking.

Colorado tied it with just 5:28 left in regulation when Joe Sakic knocked in a loose puck off a rebound for his 22nd goal of the season. The rebound came after Sanford couldn't handle Alex Tanguay's shot from the right side.

"You knew it was going to be tight tonight," Sanford said. "We played well again tonight and they played well, too. It was like it was a playoff game out there."

Colorado broke a two-game losing streak in its second straight game without rookie Marek Svatos, the team's scoring leader who is out with a shoulder injury.

The first period was a quiet one for both teams. St. Louis outshot Colorado 7-5 and neither goalie was tested.

The second period was pretty much the same as the first. Colorado only had six shots at Sanford, and St. Louis fired eight at Colorado's Aebischer.

"We played pretty hard. We had a little trouble the first 50 minutes," Aebischer said. "We didn't really play our game, but in the end it was a [win] for us."

Game notes
The Blues placed forwards Ryan Johnson, Vladimir Orszagh
and defenseman Bryce Salvador on the injured reserve. Johnson broke
his left foot Sunday in Vancouver and is expected to be out three
to four weeks. Orszagh had an arthroscopic procedure on his left
knee and also is expected to miss three to four weeks. Salvador has
a sore right shoulder. ... Forward Jon DiSalvatore was recalled
from Peoria of the AHL and center Petr Cajanek was taken off of
injured reserve. ... Sakic remains one assist shy of 900.