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Hejduk scores twice as Avs better Sharks 3-1

4/1/2003

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado was worried about just
getting into the playoffs two months ago.

The focus has changed.

Milan Hejduk had two goals and an assist, and Patrick Roy
stopped 22 shots as the Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1
Monday night to pull to two games of Vancouver in the Northwest
Division.

''There is time,'' Colorado's Peter Forsberg said. ''I mean
there are three games for us to play. If we can win all of them,
who knows?''

It's hard to imagine the Avalanche would even have a chance
after the way they played early this season.

Colorado opened the season winless in its first eight games at
home and dropped 13 games behind Vancouver after a 4-2 loss to
Detroit on Jan. 16.

Since then, Colorado is unbeaten in a team-record 16 consecutive home games (13-0-2-1) to inch closer to an NHL-record ninth
division title.

''It's a target. We have been playing well,'' Roy said.

Colorado is 23-4-3-3 its past 33 games to reach 100 points for
the fourth time in eight years in Denver and eclipse the 40-victory mark for the eighth consecutive year.

Forsberg has been the key playmaker during the run.

He set up all three goals to reach the 100-point mark for the
second time in his career and extended his point streak to six
games. Forsberg has 102 points, one behind Vancouver's Markus
Naslund for the NHL scoring lead, with 10 goals and 32 assists
coming in the past 26 games.

''When you play with a guy like Peter you have to keep your
stick on the ice and be aware,'' said Hejduk, who has 46 goals.
''There is always a chance.''

Roy was solid on the night he became the first goalie in NHL
history to eclipse 60,000 minutes.

He allowed a goal just more than nine minutes in, but turned away
everything else after reaching the milestone at 10 minutes of the
first period.

Roy stopped the Sharks on two power plays in a span of two
minutes in the second and later gloved a shot by Scott Hannan just
before Jonathan Cheechoo came crashing into him. He also made four
tough saves on a power play late in the third.

Roy has allowed five goals in six games and two or fewer in 23
of 27.

''If you ask him, I think he's playing some of the best hockey
in his career over the last few months,'' Avalanche coach Tony
Granato said. ''That's a good sign for us. He is our backbone and
that is why we have been able to be successful.''

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 25 shots for San Jose, 1-3-0-1 in its
last five. The Sharks haven't won on the road since Feb. 27 against
Vancouver 0-6-0-1.

''I'm happy with the way we've worked,'' Sharks coach Ron Wilson
said. ''In a time that would be easy to give up, we haven't.''

San Jose at least got off to a good start, with Marco Sturm
opening the scoring 9:30 in with his third goal in two games.
Sturm's 28th of the season came on a rebound after Roy stopped a
wraparound attempt by Patrick Marleau.

But that was it for the Sharks.

Hejduk tied it with 3:07 left, one-timing a pass from Martin
Skoula after setting up at the right post.

Derek Morris put Colorado up 2-1 midway through the second,
one-timing a pass from Hejduk from the top of the left circle.
Hejduk set up Morris' career-high 10th of the season by circling
back from the right faceoff dot to the top of the circles.

Hejduk put it away with two minutes left, beating Nabokov
stickside from the top of the circles.

''They are a pretty good team,'' Sturm said. ''They've got one
of the best defensemen in the league and an awesome goalie. If you
look at the first two, three lines it's pretty good.''

Game notes
The league office made a scoring change from Colorado's 6-1
victory over Phoenix on Saturday. Alex Tanguay was credited with
the Avalanche's first goal instead of Skoula. ... Forsberg, who
extended his point streak to six games, also had 100 points in
1995-96, when he had a career-high 116. ... Cheechoo left the ice
holding a towel to the left side of his face after his collision
with Roy, but was back on the bench by the end of the period. ...
San Jose's Teemu Selanne had his stick get stuck between two panes
of glass late in the second after a collision with former teammate
Bryan Marchment. Selanne tugged on the stick a couple of times
before yanking it free.