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Avs' late charge comes up short against Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- After giving up three-goal
leads twice already this season, the Colorado Avalanche nearly came
back from a four-goal deficit against the Vancouver Canucks.

Colorado scored three times in the final 3 minutes to pull
within one goal before Trevor Linden got an empty-netter to seal
Vancouver's 6-4 Saturday night.

"It's been amazing some of the games we've been involved in,
it's never over," said Colorado coach Joel Quenneville, who has
seen his team lose four of its last five games.

Daniel Sedin's second goal of the game gave Vancouver a 5-1 lead
with 7 minutes left, but Brad May and Patrice Brisebois scored 17
seconds apart, and Alex Tanguay added a power-play goal with 1:45
left to close the gap to 5-4.

Antti Laaksonen also scored for Colorado, playing for the second
straight night.

"It was dumb on our part," the Canucks' Todd Bertuzzi said of
the late meltdown. "We fell asleep on the bench and they got a
couple of chances and capitalized and that's something we've got to
address."

Bryan Allen, Ed Jovanovski and Brendan Morrison also scored for
the Canucks, who swept their four-game homestand. Vancouver scored
twice on the power play and two more times within seconds of a man
advantage expiring to extend their winning streak to five games.

"Although we had a couple of warts on it at the end, we got two
huge points that will go a long way towards us being a top team,"
said coach Marc Crawford, whose Canucks are 7-1-1 and one point
behind Detroit for first overall in the NHL.

It was the teams' first meeting since Bertuzzi's on-ice attack
on then-Avalanche forward Steve Moore on March 8, 2004. But with
Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and chief
disciplinarian, in attendance there was little sign of the
long-standing bad blood between the Northwest Division rivals.

"I thought it was great hockey game," Quenneville said of the
fast-paced contest. "The fans got to see a special game with
unbelievabvle chances at both ends."

Bertuzzi, who was suspended 17 months by the NHL and received
one-year probation and community service after pleading guilty to
assault causing bodily harm for the blindside punch to Moore's
head, had an assist.

Moore suffered broken bones in his neck from the attack and a
concussion that has prevented the unrestricted free agent from
resuming his career.

Asked if he was glad to have his first game against Colorado
over, Bertuzzi, who has carefully avoided the subject since the
season started, said: "No, I could have played a couple more
periods."

Vancouver plays consecutive games in Colorado next week and the
teams meet three more times before the end of November.

Colorado outshot the Canucks 32-23, but Dan Cloutier was sharp
early, especially when the Avalanche got the first three power
plays of the game. He robbed Colorado captain Joe Sakic twice in
close off rebounds and the Canucks responded by opening the scoring
shortly after their first man-advantage expired late in the period.

Former Canucks forward Brad May had just stepped out of the box
when Allen beat rookie goalie Peter Budaj cleanly with a wrist shot
from the right faceoff dot.

Jovanovski doubled the lead on another power play just over 2
minutes later when he knocked his own rebound out of the air and
sent the puck fluttering over Budaj, who was down after a good save
on the original deflection.

Laaksonen put the Avalanche on the board early with a wraparound
after Mattias Ohlund gave the puck up behind his own net, but Sedin
restored the two-goal cushion with a nifty power-play deflection of
twin brother Henrik's slap pass from the left boards.

Morrison made it 4-1 on a rebound and Daniel Sedin added his
second on a give-and-go with his brother just as another power play
expired.

"The game was over," said Daniel. "It shouldn't be a game
after that, but we let them in the game and fortunately we came out
of it with a win."
Game notes
Budaj finished with 17 saves. ... Colorado snapped its
three-game losing streak with a 7-1 win at Edmonton on Friday
night. ... Vancouver had 10 power-play goals in the last four
games, moving the Canucks from 25th in the league into the top 10.
... Jovanovski also assisted on Allen's goal, giving the defenseman
two goals and six assists during a four-game point-scoring streak.