Series (Game 1 of 4)

Colorado leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 17th
Game 2: Sunday, December 29th
Game 3: Thursday, March 27th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 2nd

Avalanche 4

(1-1-0, 3 pts)

Kings 1

(3-1-0, 6 pts)

10:30 PM ET, October 17, 2002

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California

1 2 3 T
COL 1 0 34
LA 0 1 01

P. Forsberg (Avalanche - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

A. Foote (Avalanche - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

E. Belanger (Kings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Forsberg scores twice as Colorado stops Kings

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Peter Forsberg has a lot to make up for.

Jaroslav Modry

Colorado's Jeff Shantz, right, gets to the puck first, beating the Kings' Jaroslav Modry, left, and Brad Chartrand (29). Colorado's Serge Aubin, checks out the action from below.

After missing the last regular season because of injuries, Forsberg led postseason scorers with 27 points in 20 games. That performance gave him a nice running start into this season.

Forsberg had two goals and an assist, and Adam Foote scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 Thursday night.

''You always need someone who can break a team's back or change the flow of a game, and that's what he does,'' Foote said. ''When he's on, he can definitely win you hockey games. We have that one-two punch with Joe Sakic, and if one guy's struggling and the other team is shutting him down, the other guy might get some more room.''

Patrick Roy made 26 saves, and Sakic scored into an empty net in the final minute, helping end the Kings' season-opening three-game winning streak -- one game shy of the club record. Eric Belanger scored a short-handed goal for Los Angeles.

''We worked for 60 minutes,'' Colorado left wing Brad Larsen said. ''We had a couple of letdowns in the game, but overall the guys played well and Patty had another great game. We had a pretty bad game against Boston, so we really wanted to rebound from that.''

As Foote left the penalty box, Larsen spotted the Avalanche defenseman sneaking behind Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky and passed the puck ahead to him. Foote got goaltender Felix Potvin to go down and beat him to the glove side for a 2-1 lead with 13:28 remaining.

''I didn't know how much time was left on the penalty. I just wanted to get it out of the zone,'' Larsen said. ''It just worked out right because he was coming out of the box. I wish I could say it was a great play, but it was lucky timing. That's all.''

Forsberg made it 3-1 with 7:32 left, taking the puck behind the net and tucking his wraparound shot between Potvin's legs.

''There are few players who have his talent,'' Kings defenseman Mattias Norstrom said. ''We all wish we could figure that secret. He's in that category with the best players in the league -- the Jagrs and the Lemieuxs and the Sakics.''

Forsberg opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 4:03 of the first period. Entering the game, Los Angeles' penalty-killing unit had allowed one goal in 19 short-handed situations -- and the Avalanche had connected only once in 15 power plays.

Potvin stopped Rob Blake's slap shot from the top of the right circle with his right leg, but the rebound caromed right to Forsberg, who had a wide-open net to shoot at for his first regular-season goal since March 11, 2001.

''We did a real good job of everybody going to the net and battling,'' Sakic said. ''That's what we're going to have to do if we're going to score goals.''

The Kings tied it at 6:49 of the second with their first short-handed goal of the season.

Ian Laperriere carried the puck over the blue line along the right boards and made a perfect cross-ice pass under Blake's stick before Belanger beat Roy to the stick side for his third goal in four games.

The Kings received a two-man advantage at 15:03 of the second after staggered penalties to Foote for holding the stick and Blake for tripping.

Los Angeles coach Andy Murray burned his only timeout to give his power-play unit a few extra instructions, but the Kings couldn't get a shot on net during the 55 seconds in which they skated five-on-three.

Game notes

The Avalanche eliminated the Kings from the playoffs in each of the past two seasons -- both times in a deciding seventh game at Colorado. ... Kings right wing Ziggy Palffy missed his second game because of a groin strain, and center Bryan Smolinski sat out the last two periods after sustaining a charley horse on his fourth shift. ... Roy's next two appearances will tie Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk's record of 971 games by an NHL goalie.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press