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Colorado at Atlanta

Avalanche leap into division tie with defeat of Thrashers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- With Colorado playing its third game in four days, coach Joel Quenneville hoped the Avalanche would stay focused on the playoffs.

"I don't think there's any opportunity to feel complacent," he said. "One day you're in third (place), the next you're in eighth, and the ninth-place team is right there."

Andrew Brunette scored two goals and Colorado got a goal and two assists each from Joe Sakic and rookie David Jones in a 5-2 victory against the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday night.

The Avalanche moved into a tie for first place in the Northwest Division with Calgary, which had the night off. Both teams have 82 points. Minnesota is third with 81, one more than Vancouver, which holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We've got to take care of our own business," Quenneville said. "Whoever does best within this division is going to have the best chance of winning it."

Colorado has won 10 of 14 on the road, seven of eight overall.

Jones, a ninth-round draft choice in 2003, scored his first career goal to make it 4-1 in the second. Now in his third stint this season after the Avalanche recalled him again from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League, Jones wants to savor his first goal.

"I can't wait to get that puck home and put it on my mantel," he said. "It will be up there at the top."

Jones assisted on Brunette's 16th goal and Sakic's 10th goal to help the Avalanche take a 2-0 lead in the first. Sakic, who ranks eighth in career NHL points, thought Jones played with poise.

"I think he played really well," Sakic said. "He's got size. He's got speed. He goes to the net hard and handles the puck well."

Colby Armstrong had an unassisted goal midway through the first for the Thrashers, who lost their second straight and have only one victory in 11 games.

"There's nothing to say," Atlanta captain Bobby Holik said. "There's nothing for us to say right now."

Milan Hejduk's 22nd goal came in the first minute of the second after Scott Hannan passed from the left circle and beat goaltender Johan Hedberg stick side.

Brunette's 17th goal, which pushed the lead to 5-1 late in the second, improved Colorado to 24-5-2 this season when scoring on the power play.

Hedberg, who dropped to 13-20-5, stopped 18 of 23 shots before coach Don Waddell pulled him in favor of Kari Lehtonen to begin the third.

Waddell indicated the Thrashers have more problems right now than merely poor goaltending and inadequate defense.

"It shouldn't be a problem getting up for games, but for some reason this is the first one we've had like that," Waddell said. "So let's hope we can blow by it pretty quickly as we start a stretch drive of seven games in 11 nights. It's going to be a long 11 nights if we give those kind of 60 minutes."

Jose Theodore is 23-18-2 after stopping 22 of 24 shots and winning his seventh start in eight games.

Erik Christensen's 11th goal ended the scoring with 3:52 remaining.

Notes

  • C Peter Forsberg (groin) missed his second successive game for Colorado.
  • After fighting Stars D Steve Ott in a 3-0 loss at Dallas on Sunday, D Ruslan Salei returned to Denver to have his injured eye examined.
  • C Paul Stastny earned his team-high 37th assist and third in four games on Brunette's second goal.
  • The Avalanche have killed 22 consecutive penalties.
  • Colorado improved to 5-1 this month and 16-2-2 in March over the past two seasons.
  • Alexei Zhitnik, Atlanta's highest-paid defenseman, was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.
  • Colorado, 8-1 against the Eastern Conference, ended a three-game losing streak to the Thrashers to earn their first victory in Atlanta since 2002.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jose Theodore and Andrew Brunette, two of this game's biggest stars, celebrate a road victory.  (AP)
Jose Theodore and Andrew Brunette, two of this game's biggest stars, celebrate a road victory. (AP)
Related Links
 
Scoreboard
Colorado  (38-27-6) «2305
Atlanta (30-33-8)1012
Three Stars
D. Jones
COL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
J. Sakic
COL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
C. Armstrong
ATL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:47Andrew Brunette (16), Tip-In. Assist: David Jones
07:53Joe Sakic (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: David Jones
09:20Colby Armstrong (11), Tip-In, Unassisted.
2ND PERIOD
48.0Milan Hejduk (22), Tip-In. Assist: Scott Hannan, Jaroslav Hlinka
09:45David Jones (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Joe Sakic, Jose Theodore
17:40Power Play - Andrew Brunette (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny
3RD PERIOD
03:52Erik Christensen (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Eric Perrin, Colby Armstrong
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
16:38Guite, 2 min, Interference
2ND PERIOD
11:08Havelid, 2 min, Slashing
16:26Enstrom, 2 min, Tripping
20:00Hannan, 2 min, Closing Hand on Puck
3RD PERIOD
09:31Jones, 2 min, Holding
14:30Kovalchuk, 2 min, Tripping
17:06Larsen, 2 min, Interference
Shots On Goal
 123T
Colorado1211629
Atlanta851124
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Jose Theodore59:53222
Johan Hedberg39:59185
Kari Lehtonen20:0060
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Colorado1-for-2
Atlanta0-for-0
Game Information
Attendance - 14089
Referees - Dean Warren, Dan Marouelli
Linesmen - Pierre Champoux, Andy McElman
 
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