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Avalanche hand Mighty Ducks seventh straight loss

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Marek Svatos is out to prove there is
more to this season's NHL rookie class than just Sidney Crosby and
Alexander Ovechkin.

Svatos scored his 10th goal and fifth winner with 5:58 remaining
Friday night, giving the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 victory over
Anaheim and sending the Mighty Ducks to their seventh straight
loss.

"Obviously, Sidney Crosby's off to a great start and he's going
to be a humongous player in carrying our league, but I think Marek
will start getting recognition with the goals that he's scoring,"
teammate Rob Blake said. "He's been with our team for a couple of
years and hasn't played too many games because of injuries. But the
goals that he scores are key goals, and you don't find players like
that very often."

The Slovakian right wing had just 15 games of NHL experience --
11 in the playoffs -- before this season. The Avalanche picked him
in the 10th round of the 2001 draft. In 22 regular-season games he
has 12 goals.

"He's got the Midas touch right now," coach Joel Quenneville
said.

Milan Hejduk and Steve Konowalchuk also scored for the
Avalanche. Alex Tanguay had three assists and Joe Sakic had two,
giving him 1,420 career points and tying Adam Oates for 13th place
on the career list.

Anaheim's losing streak is its longest since a seven-game skid
in March 1998. A home loss Sunday against Vancouver would tie the
franchise record set in October 1996. The Ducks have outshot
opponents 192-139 the last five games while scoring only nine
goals. Anaheim is only 3-for-38 on the power play in their last
six.

"It's very frustrating right now in this locker room," Teemu
Selanne said. "We had all kinds of chances, but we just can't
score right now."

Selanne connected on a power play, and Jonathan Hedstrom had an
unassisted goal for the Ducks in a matchup of rookie goaltenders.

Peter Budaj, starting consecutive games for the first time in
the NHL, made 31 saves after stopping 21 shots in Wednesday's 3-1
victory at Phoenix. David Aebischer allowed eight goals on 30 shots
in his previous two starts following the goalie's seven-game
winning streak.

Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves for Anaheim as Jean-Sebastien
Giguere missed his second straight game because of a hamstring
strain.

Colorado's top line of Hejduk, Tanguay and Sakic, which
accounted for only five goals in the previous six games, opened the
scoring at 13:53. Sakic and Tanguay made two precise passes to set
up Hejduk, who tapped the puck into a wide-open net to end an
eight-game goal drought.

"They've got the ability to make plays like that in tight,"
Quenneville said. "It was a really special play by Tangs. That's a
line that we're expecting a lot out of, and I think they're aware
that they needed to be better."

Quenneville chatted with Sakic, Tanguay and Hejduk after
Tuesday's game about what he expects from them and what adjustments
they needed to make in their game. It produced instant results.

"For the three of us, it's been our best game in a while,"
Sakic said. "The last game we spent chasing a lot of turnovers
that we made, but tonight we tried to simplify things. When we're
successful is when we get the puck in deep and then cycle and shoot
the puck. We did more of that tonight."

Anaheim tied it at 17:22 of the first period after a sloppy
turnover by Colorado defenseman John-Michael Liles, who put the
puck right onto Hedstrom's stick on an attempted clearing pass in
the Avalanche zone. Liles couldn't recover in time to prevent the
Ducks rookie from beating Budaj between the pads for his fifth
goal.

Brett Clark had a chance to put Colorado back in front, but
missed the net completely on a penalty shot after getting tripped
from behind on a breakaway by Scott Niedermayer at 9:35 of the
second period. It was the first penalty shot against Bryzgalov, who
came out to challenge Clark and forced him to shoot over the
crossbar.

Game notes
Hejduk, who scored a NHL-leading 50 goals in the 2002-03
season, has four in 13 games this season after sitting out the
first six games while recovering from surgery on his right knee.
... The Avalanche, who play at Los Angeles on Saturday, are playing
consecutive road games against the Ducks and Kings for the seventh
time since the NHL expanded to Anaheim in 1993-94. Colorado has
never swept both games.