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Orszagh's late goal drops Avs to 0-4-3-1 at home

11/11/2002

DENVER (AP) -- The Nashville Predators were not only the worst
team in the Western Conference, but also were nearing the end of an
exhausting seven-game road trip, and they must have seemed like
easy pickings to the Colorado Avalanche.

Nothing, however, is easy for the Avalanche at home this season.

Vladimir Orszagh scored at 15:55 of the third period, Tomas
Vokoun had 33 saves and the Predators prevailed 4-3 Sunday night,
prolonging the Avalanche's home-ice futility.

Nashville won for the first time in 13 road games dating to last
season. Colorado fell to 0-4-3-1 at home this season -- the worst
home start in the franchise's 24-year history.

Nashville was even able to overcome the loss of two players to
injury during the game. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen bruised his left
ankle early in the second period and didn't return. Forward Dominic
Pittis sustained a concussion in the first period and didn't
return.

''We lost Dominic and Kimmo early, but the guys dug in and got
it done,'' coach Barry Trotz said. ''We got really good goaltending
tonight, and we got some timely goals. A lot of our goals, like the
winner by Orszagh, was just hard work.''

Joe Sakic's 10th goal of the season -- on a rare power play -- pulled Colorado into a 3-3 tie at 8:15 of the final period.

During an ensuing scramble in front of the Colorado goal,
Orszagh poked the puck past Patrick Roy for his fourth goal of the
season.

''I felt the puck come between my leg,'' Orszagh said. ''I put
it on my backhand side and shoved it on the net. Luckily, it went
in.

''We put three quality periods together. We have been losing or
tying games on the road in the third period and that had been
heartbreaking. This one could have been heartbreaking when we lost
the lead. But we pulled together at the end.''

Roy, returning to the ice after missing the last three games
with a sore left hip, had 24 saves.

''I think it's mental right now,'' Roy said. ''We're not playing
our game. Guys are putting too much pressure on themselves. We have
to find a way to win one game here. After that we'll get going.''

Asked if the Avalanche viewed the game as a winnable one, Sakic
said, ''Yeah, you would think so. But when things aren't going
well, they're not going well. We're in it as a team, and we're
going to have to get out of it as a team.''

Colorado held a players-only meeting after the game.

Coach Bob Hartley noted that the Avalanche ''are at .500 after
15 games (4-4-4-3), and that's where we deserve to be right now.
We're basically at the same spot we were in last year. The sad
thing right now is that we're throwing valuable points in the
garbage.''

Nashville's Wyatt Smith got his first goal of the season just
1:14 into the game, scoring from inside the left circle.

Vokoun stopped Steven Reinprecht and Peter Forsberg on
back-to-back shots at close range.

Each team scored two goals in the second period.

Colorado's Alex Tanguay scored from the slot at 6:03 after
taking a pass from behind the net by Milan Hejduk. The Avalanche
went ahead 2-1 when Eric Messier dug the puck out of the right
corner and fed Mike Keane in the slot at 12:23.

Barely a minute later, Jason York tied it with a power-play goal
at 13:34. The Predators took a 3-2 lead on David Legwand's
short-handed goal at 18:42. Legwand shot from the right circle and
tipped in the rebound.

Game notes
Colorado defenseman Rob Blake was back in the lineup after missing
one game with a groin injury. ... Colorado entered the game with
the league's worst power play at home and the league's worst
penalty kill at home. ... Nashville was winless in its previous 12
road games (0-6-2-4), including losing its final three games of
last season. ... It was the first of three games between the teams
in 12 days. ... It was the sixth game of a seven-game road trip for
Nashville, the longest in franchise history.