Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 2)

Colorado leads 2-0

Game 1: Sunday, November 2nd
Game 2: Thursday, November 20th

Avalanche 3

(6-5-0, 12 pts)

Rangers 2

(4-3-1, 11 pts)

5:00 PM ET, November 2, 2003

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 3 OT T
COL 0 0 2 13
NYR 1 1 0 02

K. Skrastins (Avalanche - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Tanguay (Avalanche - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Dunham (Rangers - G): Saves: 35, Save Pct.: .921

Tanguay scores equalizer, assists on winner

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nothing fazed the Colorado Avalanche.

Not a five-minute disadvantage in the first period, not a two-goal deficit in the third period, not a crowd giving a rare standing ovation to the host New York Rangers.

Because once the Avalanche got things rolling, Alex Tanguay led the way to a 3-2 overtime victory Sunday over the Rangers.

"We didn't get flustered, no matter what happened," coach Tony Granato said.

Tanguay scored the tying goal in the third period and assisted on Karlis Skrastins' winner 1:14 into overtime to stretch his NHL season-best point streak to nine games.

Skrastins' shot struck the right post behind Mike Dunham and then caromed off the goalie's skate and in to win it.

"It was a good pass from Tanguay. I shot it, but I didn't see where the puck go," said Skrastins of Latvia. "It was a big goal for me and a big game for the team."

The Avalanche won four times last season when trailing after two periods. This was the first time they did it in four tries this season.

"We stuck to our game plan," captain Joe Sakic said. "It's human nature to try to pick it up in the third down 2-0. We kept it simple."

Tanguay tied it with 9:06 left in regulation when he picked up a rebound of Milan Hejduk's wraparound try and banked a shot in off Dunham's left arm.

The Avalanche trailed 2-0 until Travis Brigley scored his first NHL goal during a third-period power play.

Colorado also won last season at Madison Square Garden in overtime when Greg de Vries, now of the Rangers, scored to spoil Glen Sather's first game as New York's coach.

David Aebischer stopped 22 shots and kept the Avalanche close until Colorado could catch up.

Bobby Holik and Mark Messier scored for New York. Dunham made 35 saves in his eighth straight start, the last two coming on back-to-back nights. He has allowed 12 goals in that stretch, going 4-2-2.

"We should expect ourselves to win a game like this," Dunham said. "We gave them momentum and they took it from there."

Brigley knocked in a rebound, while falling to the ice, to lift Colorado within 2-1 at 6:14 of the third period.

The Rangers' power play clicked for the third straight game after failing in its first 32 chances. Anson Carter was just stepping out of the penalty box to give the Rangers the advantage when Holik made it 1-0.

The Rangers scored their first power-play goal of the season Thursday against Carolina and then added two more Saturday at Montreal -- both victories.

Colorado played without Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya for the second straight game.

Forsberg sat out his second game because of a slight groin pull and is day-to-day. Kariya missed his sixth straight game due to a sprained wrist that has him sidelined indefinitely.

Aebischer, playing his third consecutive game and sixth in seven, made several good stops during New York's five-minute power play, including denying Carter a few times.

"The big key was killing off the five-minute penalty," Aebischer said. "We played well defensively in the third period. We almost didn't make any mistakes."

Colorado was short-handed because of Steve Konowalchuk's checking-from-behind penalty against Alex Kovalev with 6:09 left in the first period. Kovalev was driven into the corner boards and glass headfirst.

Kovalev missed the rest of the period but returned in the second. Konowalchuk was ejected.

New York made it 2-0 at 4:14 of the second period. Matthew Barnaby took a pass from Chris Simon, made some moves in front of Aebischer, and passed right to Messier for his fourth goal.

Messier moved within one point of Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL career list. Messier has 1,849 on 680 goals and 1,169 assists.

Game notes

Rangers D Brian Leetch made his season debut after missing nine games because of a bruised ankle. ... Rookie forwards Dominic Moore of the Rangers and his brother Steve of the Avalanche were on the ice simultaneously. Dominic had three assists in NHL debut Saturday. Steve has no points in 17 career games. ... Rangers C Petr Nedved didn't return after straining his back in the first period.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press