Norrena backstops Jackets to first ever win in Denver

DENVER (AP) -- Fredrik Norrena wasn't trying to be modest.

The Columbus Blue Jackets goalie simply couldn't remember a
tough save he made in a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche on
Tuesday night.

"They had a lot of shots, but not a lot of quality scoring
chances," said Norrena, who recorded his second straight shutout.
"I didn't have a great save."

Norrena stopped 42 shots -- including 21 in a barrage in the
second period -- and the Blue Jackets won in Denver for the first
time in franchise history.

And now Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock has a dilemma -- stick with
Norrena or play Pascal Leclaire, the primary starter. It's the
first time Norrena has started back-to-back games.

"You want to reward shutouts," said Hitchcock, who's seen his
goalies allow six goals in the last five games. "But both are
going to play. There won't be a problem."

It was loud in the Columbus locker room after the game with
players yelling and screaming. The Blue Jackets entered the game
with a 1-19-1-1 all-time mark against the Avalanche, their lone win
being a 5-4 overtime victory in Columbus on Feb. 28, 2004. They had
never won at the Pepsi Center (0-9-0-1) until Tuesday night.

"We let it all out," Fredrik Modin said.

That's all they heard about leading up to the game, how they
couldn't win in Denver.

But Jason Chimera and Anson Carter staked Columbus to an early
lead with goals within 2:38 of each other in the first period.

The turning point in the game, however, came late in the second
period. The Avalanche had a 5-on-3 opportunity, but the Blue
Jackets killed both penalties. With 4.3 seconds left in the period,
Modin scored his seventh goal of the season on a pass from Manny
Malhotra, who was on his knees and falling toward the ice when he
sent the puck across the goal crease to the open Modin.

"They're emotional drainers," Hitchcock said of Avs' inability
to score on a two-man advantage. "We were caught on our heels in
the second period. We started to tire. My experience in this
building is when you're not used to the altitude, it's always the
second period that's the killer. You feel like you have nothing
left in the tank after the first period. Luckily, we weren't
chasing the game, we had the lead."

Peter Budaj stopped 18 shots. This was a different outcome than
18 days ago when he posted a shutout against Columbus, stopping 25
shots in a 3-0 win.

"It's tough," said Budaj, who stepped in for Jose Theodore,
who missed the game with a hip flexor injury. "I felt pretty good,
I was seeing the puck pretty well. I was relaxed."

Relaxed was how Norrena felt much of the game. He's now gone
more than 122 minutes without allowing a goal.

And while the rookie hasn't played much this season -- this was
his seventh start -- Hitchcock has seen enough of him to know what
he offers.

"I don't know his NHL career, but I've seen him three times
playing internationally," Hitchcock said of the goalie who helped
Finland win a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics. "He's a very good
goalie. He's been in a lot of big games. He's very composed in the
goal. Both goalies are exceptional."

For Adam Foote, the Blue Jackets' first win inside the Pepsi
Center had added meaning. He played 13 seasons with

"The first time my family came back (to Colorado) was this
trip," Foote said. "Colorado is tattooed in my heart. But it's
part of the game (moving on) and things happen for a reason. A big
part of my life is Colorado. You never know, I've got a shot to do
it here right now. But one day I might bring my family back

Game notes
The game was Colorado's 1,000th since moving to Denver in
1995-96. The Avalanche debut in Denver was a 3-2 win over Detroit
on Oct. 6, 1995. ... Columbus has now killed 21 straight power
plays over the last five games. The Blue Jackets killed four on
Tuesday night. ... D Jordan Leopold played his second game since
coming off the injured-reserve list on Friday following an
offseason hernia surgery.