Sakic returns, but Forsberg line steals show


DENVER (AP) -- Tony Granato simply stated the key to the Colorado
Avalanche's success.

Alex Tanguay scored two goals, and Peter Forsberg added three
assists as the Avalanche extended their home winning streak to
seven with a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

"Those three again, have been every game,'' the Colorado coach
said of his top line of Peter Forsberg, Alex Tanguay and Milan
Hejduk. "They are hungry around the net, they are making plays
around the net, they are getting available for one another, and
making it look easy for one another, and it's because they are
working away from the puck to support each other.''

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish agreed.

"When you have a line that is as hot as Tanguay, Forsberg and
Hejduk and when they have the time in front of your net, they are
going to capitalize on the chances,'' MacTavish said. "That is
what happened.''

Tanguay extended his point streak to a season-high 11 games, in
which he has seven goals and 11 assists. Forsberg has 22 points,
four goals and 18 assists, in 12 games.

Hejduk had his goal-scoring streak snapped at seven games.

"We feel that if we skate and use our speed with the skill
those two guys have, we going to find ourselves having chances,''
Tanguay said of his linemates. "We just have to make sure we keep
working hard. If we use our speed we're going to get chances,
that's the way we look at it.''

Colorado captain Joe Sakic returned after missing 15 games
because of a broken right foot. Rob Blake and Stephen Reinprecht
added goals, and Patrick Roy stopped 22 shots to improve to 33-13-6
against the Oilers.

Jason Chimera and Mike York scored for Edmonton, 0-4-1-2 in
their last seven games. The Oilers are winless in five road games

Forsberg had assists on the first three Colorado goals as the
Avalanche took a 3-2 lead. Blake tapped in a shot from just below
the left circle after Hejduk relayed a pass from Forsberg in the
slot to make it 1-0 at 5:49.

Tanguay scored at 13:34, faking goalie Tommy Salo to the ice
after receiving a pass from Forsberg, who freed himself behind the
net. Just 16 seconds later, Chimera cut the lead in half by tipping
in a rebound after Roy stopped Steve Staios' shot from the right

Colorado took a two-goal lead into the third period after
Edmonton tied it 2-2 on York's backhander at 4:51. The Avalanche
regained the lead when Forsberg fed Tanguay, whose backhander got
through a screen.

"It was incredible,'' Tanguay said of Forsberg's assist. "He
waited until the defender looked away and then he just slid it
right in the middle. I don't think the goalie saw much.''

Reinprecht finished a three-on-two with a shot past Salo's glove
that put the Avalanche ahead 4-2 at 17:15 of the second. Sakic
started the play with a steal in the neutral zone.

"We are a struggling hockey club,'' Edmonton's Todd Marchant
said. "Somewhere, somehow we have to find our way out of it.''

Game notes
Salo is 9-16-4 against Colorado. ... The Oilers' power play
was 3-for-23 in five games against Colorado. ... Edmonton LW Shawn
Horcoff drew a boarding minor in the last 10 seconds that turned
into a minor scuffle involving all 10 skaters. ... Reinprecht
missed on a breakaway chance in the first period while Colorado was
short-handed. ... Sakic has missed 24 games because of his broken
foot (15) and sprained right ankle (9).