DENVER - Near the end of a game Colorado seemed to be dominating, the Avalanche needed a short-handed goal by Antti Laaksonen and a last-minute defensive stand Thursday to hold off the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for a 4-3 victory in front of 18,007 at the Pepsi Center. Colorado outshot the Mighty Ducks 32-23 and had seven power-play opportunities to Anaheim’s three. But the Avalanche’s inability to convert on any of its extra-man chanc- es or cash in on several opennet shots kept the Mighty Ducks in the game. “The game was a lot closer than the play was,” Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had great chances right around the net where usually you bury them, and we just couldn’t get the handle on them.” Down 3-2 late in the third period, Anaheim had a chance to tie the score on a power play. But midway through it, Laaksonen gathered a loose puck, sped past an Anaheim defender and scored on a breakaway with four minutes, 42 seconds to play. “The defender was kind of standing on the blue line, hoping I was going to dump the puck out,” said Laaksonen, who had two goals. “But I saw him stop and not have much speed, and I was able to go around him.” Colorado got its seventh power-play chance with 2:23 remaining, but instead of holding onto the puck, the Avalanche tried to score. Anaheim regained possession, pulled its goalie and Joffrey Lupul scored with 55.9 seconds left to cut the lead to a goal. Anaheim had multiple chances to force overtime, but the Avalanche defense tightened and time ran out with Colorado goalie David Aebischer covering the puck. The victory, Colorado’s fourth in a row and fifth in six games, snapped Anaheim’s four-game winning streak. It also gives the Avalanche (7-4-1) 15 points and moves it into a tie for second place in the Northwest Division with Edmonton. Anaheim (7-6-1) scored first, 7:32 into the game, but Colorado scored twice in less than two minutes late in the first period to take the lead. Then, just 1:25 into the second period, Joe Sakic put the Avalanche up 3-1. After getting control of the puck near the blue line, he skated down the middle of the ice toward the Anaheim goal, faked a pass to lose a defender and then fired a shot past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. After cutting Colorado’s lead to 3-2 late in the second period, Anaheim was inches away from tying the score less than a minute into the third quarter when Petr Sykora’s shot got through Aebischer’s legs and trickled toward the goal before stopping on the goal line.
Colorado Springs Gazette has disabled the comments for this article.