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Roy makes 45 saves as Avs win again under Granato

12/22/2002

DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche have responded to the
firing of coach Bob Hartley with two inspired victories.

But the question is, how long will it last?

Peter Forsberg has a simple answer: "All year''.

Forsberg and Rob Blake had a goal and an assist each as the
Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 Saturday night for their
second straight win under new coach Tony Granato.

The Avalanche opened the season winless in eight home games and
had dropped 10 points behind Minnesota in the Northwest Division by
the beginning of this week.

Since Granato replaced Hartley on Wednesday, the Avalanche have
been more aggressive and skated with more energy to beat two of the
league's better teams.

"It's just new energy and trying to prove to the new coach,''
said Forsberg, who was back after missing three games with a
concussion. "Tony's a great coach and we're having fun out there
right now.''

The Avalanche beat Edmonton 2-1 Thursday in Granato's debut,
then survived Minnesota's team-record 47 shots to win consecutive
home games for the first time this season.

The win was Colorado's fifth in 17 home games and pushed its
overall unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1).

"It seemed like we couldn't do anything right at home for a
while,'' Granato said. "Some breaks are coming our way at home.
Once you gain a little momentum, things will go your way and the
last couple of games at home they have.''

Minnesota couldn't seem to get a break.

The Wild bettered the team record for shots in a game by five,
but it still wasn't enough to stop them from losing their second
straight game after winning five of six.

Minnesota has allowed eight goals in two games after giving up
nine the previous four contests.

"We were all standing, waiting for somebody else to make a
play,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Roy had something to do with it as well.

He stopped more than 40 shots for the first time since Dec. 1,
2000, against Dallas, including 19 in the second period.

Roy was particularly strong during the first of two Minnesota
power plays in the second, ending it by denying a wide open Wes
Walz from close range.

He has allowed five goals in three games after giving up 13 in
the previous three.

"When he's on top of his game, he's among the tops in the
game,'' Lemaire said. "You could see it. He was at the top of his
game.''

So was Forsberg, who didn't take long to have an impact.

He opened the scoring 6:43 in with a spectacular goal, wheeling
around for a shot that skipped off goalie Manny Fernandez's right
shoulder.

Forsberg started the play by fighting two Wild defenders for the
puck behind the goal, then circled around the right side. Walz
followed him out, but skated past as Forsberg spun around to his
forehand and ripped a shot in the same motion.

It was his ninth of the season, but first since Nov. 14 against
Nashville.

"I'm not quick enough to get to the front of the net, so I take
the long route,'' Forsberg said jokingly. "I think the goalies
have to go down when you come around the post and I was just trying
to get it upstairs.''

Marian Gaborik tied it with 9:28 left, slipping past Greg de
Vries in the corner and flipping a shot between Roy's pads. It was
his 21st of the season, tying Vancouver's Markus Naslund for the
league lead.

Steven Reinprecht put the Avalanche ahead 2-1 seven minutes into
the second, tipping a shot by de Vries that clanged off the left
post after Fernandez blocked a shot by Rob Blake.

Blake followed with a short-handed goal with 9:07 left,
one-timing a pass from Jeff Shantz on a 3-on-1. It was Blake's
first goal in 13 games and Colorado's second short-handed score
this season.

Jim Dowd made it 3-2 on a power play with 3:07 left, beating Roy
stickside after his shot from the top of the left circle glanced
off Mike Keane's stick.

The lead went back to two with 19 seconds left, when Reinprecht
won a faceoff in the left circle directly to Dean McAmmond, who
one-timed it past Fernandez.

Game notes
Colorado C Joe Sakic missed his fourth consecutive game
with a sprained right ankle, but could be back as early as Monday
against Vancouver. ... Colorado's Milan Hejduk had an assist on
Forsberg's goal, extending his points streak to seven games. ...
Dowd's goal was his second of the season -- first since the season
opener. ... Colorado is 10-1-2-1 against the Wild. ... Minnesota is
0-6-1 at the Pepsi Center. ... Minnesota's previous record for
shots was set March 31, 2001, in a 4-1 loss to Nashville.