Series (Game 1 of 5)

Vancouver leads 3-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 31st
Game 2: Monday, November 4th
Game 3: Wednesday, December 11th
Game 4: Monday, December 23rd
Game 5: Thursday, February 13th

Avalanche 5

(4-1-2, 13 pts)

Canucks 1

(3-4-0, 10 pts)

10:00 PM ET, October 31, 2002

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 T
COL 2 2 15
VAN 0 1 01

J. Sakic (Avalanche - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Hejduk (Avalanche - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

A. Foote (Avalanche - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Avs show no mercy vs. struggling Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Joe Sakic knew the Vancouver Canucks were struggling. He wanted to make sure it stayed that way.

Joe Sakic

The Colorado captain scored 32 seconds into the game and again in the third period as the Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 Thursday night.

"Obviously they're not very confident right now, and getting a couple of early goals took advantage of that,'' Sakic said. "We wanted to get off to a quick start, but I don't think you expect to get off to a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game, that's just a bonus.''

Dan Hinote, Adam Foote and Rob Blake also scored for the Avalanche, which won for just the second time in six games, but has points in all but one game this year. Patrick Roy stopped 23 shots.

"Joe's line gave the tone early in the game and then everyone kept battling,'' Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "This was probably our most complete game of the season so far. It's going to give lots of confidence to some players and hopefully we're going to start a good streak on this one.''

Rookie defenseman Bryan Allen scored for the Canucks, who only have one win in the last nine games and seven games on home ice all season.

"We throw that one in the garbage can,'' Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "I can't sugar coat this. It wasn't nice, it wasn't good. We know our team is better than we showed tonight and we've got to take responsibility, compliment the other team on how they played and get back to work.''

Sakic opened the scoring with a perfect wrist shot. After dropping the puck and crisscrossing with Milan Hejduk just inside the blueline, Sakic took a return feed at the top of the left circle and snapped a shot over Dan Cloutier's glove, just inside the post and under the crossbar.

Sakic added the game's final goal, his seventh of the season, 3:41 into the third.

Hinote made it 2-0 late in the first when he picked up a rebound in the high slot and slid a slow shot along the ice through the pads of a screened Cloutier.

The Avalanche, which came in with the league's 29th-ranked power play after scoring just once in the last 16 chances, were held without a shot on their first two opportunities. But Foote scored just one second after the third Avalanche power play, ending Cloutier's night early.

"It's the beginning of the year. It's early. We've got a good power play and we got a little lucky with that goal,'' Foote said of his second goal of the season. "But Blake's was a rocket and I don't think the goalie had a chance. Every time Blake shoots, good things happen.''

Colorado finished 1-for-7 on the power play.

Peter Skudra replaced Cloutier 6:11 into the second, but Blake ended Colorado's slump on the power play with his first goal of the season.

Allen ended Roy's shutout bid with 3:21 left in the second, backhanding a low shot from the high slot through a crowd.

The Canucks, who came in with just two goals in their last 38 man-advantage opportunities, had chances to close the gap on the power play. But they finished 0-for-6 with the extra attacker, including a 5-on-3 for 1:16 late in the third.

Skudra finished with eight saves in relief.

Game notes

The game was delayed briefly after a fan smashed a pumpkin on the ice with 1:17 left to play. ... Roy was penalized for interference after throwing an elbow at Todd Bertuzzi while playing the puck in the corner during the second period. ... Cloutier, who had been Vancouver's best player while starting 10 of the first 11 games, gave up three goals on 10 shots. ... Vancouver plays the next four games on the road, including a rematch with the Avalanche in Denver next Monday. ... This was the second of five straight games against Northwest Division opponents for Colorado, which is trying to win a NHL-record ninth consecutive division title.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press