Final

Series (Game 3 of 4)

Colorado leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 15th
Stars0Final
Avalanche3
Game 2: Saturday, January 10th
Avalanche4Final
Stars2
Game 3: Thursday, January 15th
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Avalanche4
Game 4: Friday, February 20th
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Stars5

Stars 1

(19-19-0, 46 pts)

Avalanche 4

(25-10-2, 59 pts)

9:00 PM ET, January 15, 2004

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
DAL 0 0 11
COL 0 2 24

P. Forsberg (Avalanche - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Aebischer (Avalanche - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: .967

D. Hinote (Avalanche - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Forward 'playing great' despite long layoff -- again

DENVER (AP) -- Peter Forsberg circled behind the net and flipped a pass through the crease that bounced off Philippe Boucher's skate and trickled in for a goal.

Just what the rest of the NHL wants to see: Forsberg getting lucky.

Forsberg scored twice and David Aebischer stopped 29 shots Thursday night to lead the Colorado Avalanche to their fourth straight win, 4-1 over the Dallas Stars.

"I think Peter is playing great," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "One thing you know is that he empties the tank, he gives you every ounce of energy he has in his body night after night."

Forsberg got off to a great start this season with five goals and 11 assists in nine games before a groin injury sidelined him for 25 of the next 27 contests, including 23 straight.

But long layoffs don't seem to affect Forsberg. He proved that in 2001-02, when he missed the regular season and still led the league in scoring during the playoffs.

This season has been no different.

Since returning on Dec. 27, Forsberg has five goals and 12 assists in 10 games. He extended his point streak to eight games with the ricochet goal in the second period, then stripped Sergei Zubov between the circles and beat Marty Turco stickside for his 10th of the season in the third.

"I've been in this league a long time; I'm getting old so I don't know if it's the best I've ever played," Forsberg said. "But it's definitely one of the best points streaks I think I've had."

Brad Larsen scored his first goal in nearly two years and Dan Hinote added his fourth of the season for the Avalanche, 9-1-2-1 in their past 13 games.

They had to overcome another slow start to do it.

Dallas missed several good chances early against Colorado on Saturday and wound up losing 4-2. This one turned out the same way after the Stars outshot the Avalanche 12-5 in the first period and didn't score.

Niko Kapanen had the best chance when Blake Sloan sent a pass through the crease late in the period, but his shot to an open net hit the side of the goal. Aebischer followed with an emphatic glove save on Jere Lehtinen, holding his glove in the air to make sure everyone knew he had it.

"When you give them chances like that, give them opportunities, they make you pay and that's exactly what we did tonight," Stars coach Dave Tippett said.

Colorado picked up the pace in the second period, but Marty Turco was ready.

He made a nice adjustment early after a tipped shot by Martin Skoula came in at an awkward angle, but that was just the prelude to what happened a couple of minutes later.

With Paul Kariya charging at him while Colorado was short-handed, Turco skated to the edge of the crease and poked the puck free with his stick. He then spun around on his backside and dived back to make a glove save on Karlis Skrastins. Even the replay drew oohs and aahs from the crowd.

But Turco had little chance when Hinote scored the game's first goal at 10:43 of the second.

Andrei Nikolishin skated in down the left side and sent a crossing pass to Hinote. Turco slid over to cover the left post, but Hinote gloved the puck, dropped it to his stick and slid it under Turco's pads.

Then came Forsberg's goal.

"We've had too many non-lucky bounces this year to keep calling it luck," said Turco, who faced 22 shots. "We needed to respond a little bit better. It may be a product of a recurring theme, but we're at that point that we got to push through no matter what happens to us."

Zubov scored Dallas' only goal with 5:24 left, but he got help from the Avalanche.

After Adam Foote lost his stick and glove in the corner, Kariya tried tossing his over. Foote fumbled the pass and Kariya couldn't stop Zubov, who knocked his fifth of the season in off the crossbar.

Larsen squelched any chance of a comeback 3:30 later, beating Turco stickside for his first goal since March 30, 2002, against Phoenix.

"Whenever you can get contribution from the third or fourth line, that's what we're looking for," Hinote said.

Game notes


The game was delayed five minutes in the first period after a section of glass behind Colorado's goal shattered. ... Stars RW Rob DiMaio didn't play after sustaining an ankle injury Tuesday against San Jose. ... No penalties were called until Skoula was called for obstruction at 16:11 of the second period. ... Dallas C Mike Modano missed his sixth straight game with a groin injury, but he could be back Saturday against Calgary. ... Colorado is 5-0-0-1 when Forsberg scores.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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