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Avs rally from 3-0 to win

1/21/2004

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Not even a disastrous first period could
slow down the Colorado Avalanche.

After spotting Florida a three-goal lead Wednesday night, the
Avalanche rallied for a 6-5 victory when Alex Tanguay completed a
hat trick with 5:41 left.

"We sure could have made it easier on ourselves by starting off
better," Tanguay said. "We were lucky we were just down 3-0
because it could have been worse. We came out flat."

Milan Hejduk, Joe Sakic and Andrei Nikolishin also scored for
Colorado, which had to rally again after Florida took a 4-3 lead.

"Even when we were 3-0 down, we were not out," Hejduk said.
"We can score some goals."

Colorado is tied with Toronto for the most points in the NHL
(63). The Avalanche are 10-1-0-1 in their last 12.

Stephen Weiss and Valeri Bure had a goal and two assists apiece,
and Juraj Kolnik, Pavel Trnka and Marcus Nilson also scored for the
Panthers, who lost for the seventh time in games they led by at least
two goals.

"That's our problem, we get ahead and then we seem to get away
from our game," Nilson said. "Once we get the lead, we have a
problem playing the same way for 60 minutes. A team like that has a
lot of firepower."

Colorado backup Philippe Sauve stopped 24 shots and is 5-0-1 in
six starts. Roberto Luongo made 23 saves for the Panthers before
being replaced late in the third period by Steve Shields.

"It's going to be a tough game for any goalie," Luongo said.
"I tried to do my best, but obviously I wasn't that successful."

Tanguay completed his first hat trick of the season when he
tipped in John-Michael Liles' wrist shot from the point to make it
6-5. He earlier gave Colorado its first lead of the game at 5-4
when he outfought defenseman Mathieu Biron and put in a loose puck
from the slot.

"You just put your stick out there and hope you hit it,"
Tanguay said. "I guess it was a little bit lucky. I'll take those
any day."

His first goal tied it at 3-all in the second period.

After Tanguay's second goal, Nilson made it 5-5 when he
put in a rebound from the side of the net at 7:48.

"I thought we worked our tails off," Florida coach Rick Dudley
said. "And I thought for much of the game we were as good or
better than them."

After Florida grabbed a 3-0 lead in a dominating first period,
Colorado got back in it with three unanswered goals in the second.
Sakic and Tanguay scored 19 seconds apart.

Florida went ahead 4-3 on Bure's beautiful power-play goal when
he one-timed Weiss' cross-ice pass.

But the Avalanche came right back when Nikolishin took advantage
of a scramble in front that eventually brought Luongo to the ice.
Nikolishin picked up the loose puck and put in his own rebound.

Weiss opened the scoring just 1:49 in. Kolnik made it 2-0 on
another rebound, and Trnka completed the first-period scoring when
he jammed in yet another rebound.

"You come out of the gate like that and don't play well for the
first 20, that is why it's a 60-minute game," Colorado coach Tony
Granato said. "We were able to take advantage of the last 40
minutes and make up for what we did in the first."

Hejduk began the Colorado comeback when he held the puck until
Luongo went down, then put a shot in over him.

Sakic closed the gap to 3-2 with a wrist shot from the slot on a
four-on-three power play.

"It was great for hockey and great for the fans," Hejduk said.
"The coaches maybe were close to a heart attack."

Game notes
Colorado tied its season high for goals allowed in a period
in the first and matched its season best for goals scored in a
period in the second. ... Colorado is 12-1 at Florida, including
two victories in the 1996 Stanley Cup finals. ... Colorado has
scored at least one power-play goal in nine of 11 games. ...
Colorado C Peter Forsberg missed his third game because of a groin
injury. ... Tanguay extended his point streak to eight games. ...
Colorado LW Peter Worrell, second on the Panthers career penalty
minutes list, fought Florida LW Darcy Hordichuk in the first
period. ... Colorado's regular starting goalie David Aebischer never has
faced Florida. ... Florida RW Viktor Kozlov missed his second
game because of a broken toe.