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Theodore makes two goals stand up for Avs vs. Sens

OTTAWA (AP) -- Jose Theodore warmed up for his return to Montreal
with a strong performance against the Ottawa Senators.

Theodore made 26 saves and Joe Sakic and Brad Richardson scored
second-period goals to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win
over the Senators on Thursday night.

The 2001-02 league MVP with Montreal, Theodore evened his record
at 2-2-1 with his best start of the season, losing a bid for his
first Colorado shutout on Dany Heatley's goal midway through the
third.

Theodore will return to the Bell Centre on Saturday night for
his first game against the Canadiens since he was traded to the
Avalanche for David Aebischer in a deadline deal on March 8.

"Obviously it's going to be special," Theodore said. "I was
in that organization for 12 years. It was a great experience for me
so it's going to be fun and exciting to go back to Montreal."

Colorado dominated the second period, outshooting Ottawa 20-7
after the teams traded scoring chances in the first.

"I thought that was our best period all year," Avalanche coach
Joel Quenneville said.

Sakic scored his third goal of the season midway through the
second to open the scoring. Richardson got his third with a
short-handed effort with 3:16 left in the period to put the
Avalanche up by two.

"Personally and as a team I'm really happy with the way the
guys played," Theodore said. "You saw that as a team we bounced
back right back after that first period. We played really hard and
it's fun as a goalie to see that you know that your team is going
to work hard in front of you."

Heatley, who had a team-record 50 goals last season, got his
first of the season 9:45 into the third when he took a pass from
Jason Spezza and fired a wrist shot that went in off Theodore's
glove.

The Senators, who went 29-9-3 last season at Scotiabank Place,
have lost each of their four home games.

"We wouldn't have guessed that was going to happen at the start
of the year but we definitely haven't given ourselves as good a
chance as we should to win games," Senators defenseman Wade Redden
said. "Usually we're really good at this, especially at home. I
don't know what it is. It just seems like we've got guys doing five
different things sometimes all over the ice and until we get back
to playing together, it's going to be the same thing."

Ottawa's Martin Gerber stopped 34 shots in his first start since
a 4-3 loss to Buffalo on Oct. 7.

The Senators went 0-for-3 on the power play and have not scored
in their last 31 attempts with the man advantage. Ottawa's power
play is 1-for-33 overall in six games.

Colorado's power play also came up short, going 0-for-6. The
Avalanche are 0-for-17 with the man advantage on the road.

Sakic opened the scoring 10:48 into the second, redirecting
Andrew Brunette's pass from behind the net from the edge of the
crease beyond Gerber despite being surrounded by Redden and his
defense partner, Andrej Meszaros, and center Mike Fisher.

"We were running around there for what felt like 10 minutes in
the second, just scrambling," Redden said. "Someone would get the
puck and we'd just give it back to them, or we wouldn't get it out.
They were working us down low and finally it broke. It was just a
bang-bang play for Joe to put it in."

Richardson made it 2-0 during Ottawa's first power play
opportunity when he beat Gerber with a shot into the top right
corner.

Game notes
Theodore, who has 23 career shutouts, has not blanked an
opponent since Feb. 28, 2004, against Carolina with Montreal, a
span of 60 games. ... Senators D Joe Corvo made his season debut.
Corvo, who signed as a free agent with Ottawa on July 1 after he
had 14 goals and 26 assists with Los Angeles last season, missed
Ottawa's first five games because of a broken foot. ... Rick
Middleton and Gary Leeman are tied for the longest scoring drought
from the start of a season by a player who scored at least 50 goals
the previous season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Middleton didn't score through his first seven games of 1982-83,
and Leeman matched that in 1990-91.