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DENVER (AP) -Paul Stastny was just following in the skates of his old man.
The second-year center had his first career hat trick Wednesday night and the Colorado Avalanche held off the Dallas Stars for a 4-3 victory in the season opener for both teams.
Peter Stastny, a star with the Quebec Nordiques before they moved to Denver and became the Avalanche, had a hat trick against Buffalo on Oct. 6, 1982.
His son, though, didn't want to compare himself to his father, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.
"He's way better than me," Paul Stastny said grinning. "But it's good to get a hat trick."
Stastny's three-goal game was the first by a Colorado player on opening night, though Dale Hunter did it for Quebec on Oct. 4, 1983, against the New York Islanders.
After scoring his third goal midway through the second period, the fans littered the ice with hats.
But Stastny downplayed his accomplishment.
"Anyone on the team can chip in," Stastny said. "Today, I was a little lucky. It helped out because we needed goals."
Colorado led 4-1 after two periods, but the Stars made things interesting when Jussi Jokinen scored midway through the third and Niklas Hagman added another at 17:10.
The Stars pulled goalie Marty Turco with 1:10 remaining, but couldn't score.
Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj, who made a flurry of saves in the closing seconds, finished with 31 saves.
"Hopefully, we're going to build on this," Budaj said.
Or continue where they left off last season. The Avalanche finished 2006-07 as the hottest team in hockey, going 15-2-2 over their final 19 games in a frenzied dash toward a playoff spot.
However, the Avalanche missed out by a point. They don't want experience that again.
"That's the start we're looking for," said Wojtek Wolski, who added a goal late in the second period. "We want to make sure that carries over into the next 10, 20 games."
Turco gave up four goals on 17 shots through the first two periods, drawing the ire of coach Dave Tippett.
"We're going to need better goaltending than that," Tippett said. "We have to if our team is to succeed."
Tippett liked the energy of the Stars - at the end at least.
"You have to have the urgency before that," he said. "To win in this league you have to commit to winning one-on-one battles and creating space for yourself by skating. We didn't have enough players doing that."
Although the Avalanche signed big name free agents in Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan over the summer, the newcomer who made the biggest impact in the season opener was Jaroslav Hlinka, who had two assists in his NHL debut.
Hlinka joined the Avalanche from the Czech League, where he shared the scoring title. He had 19 goals and 38 assists in 48 games for HC Sparta last season.
"He's an easy player to play with," said Stastny, who finished last season with 28 goals and wound up second in the Calder Trophy voting behind Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. "He keeps it simple, he always moves it to you when you get open. He's got good speed and he's confident with the puck."
Colorado coach Joel Quenneville was certainly pleased with the production of the line of Stastny, Hlinka and Andrew Brunette, who had three assists.
All told, the Avalanche's second line had three goals and five assists.
"Our balance is throughout our lineup," Quenneville said. "We encourage everybody to think scoring."
Notes: Hagman made his 400th career NHL game memorable with a goal and an assist. ... The Avalanche moved to 16-5-7 in franchise history in season openers, the best winning percentage in the NHL. ... Hannan spent a team-leading 28:05 on the ice. ... Jeff Halpern, who had a second-period goal, said the reason for the Stars loss was simple. "Too many turnovers," he said.
Man I turned off the TV when it was 4-1, missed some goals in the end. I watched Stasny score the hat trick, that was sweet. He is a great find for the Avs.
How can you not like a guy with a true hockey smile ..
Nothing like kicking off the season with a bang! Watching the Avs beat the Stars and watching Bertuzzi get beat with his new club. I'm loving it.
Avs getting battered by the preds as we speak notiables tyler weiman in net.
Predators 4, Avalanche 0 Oct 4, 2007
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Chris Mason showed he is ready to be the Nashville Predators' starting goalie.
Mason stopped 35 shots and Jason Arnott scored twice to lead the Predators to a 4-0 season-opening victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
"I really wanted to make a statement and hopefully I did that," said Mason, who was given the No. 1 goaltending spot after Tomas Vokoun was traded to Florida in the offseason. "Getting a shutout was as good as I could have hoped for. But this is only one game. I want to show everyone that I can do this throughout the season."
The line of Arnott, J.P Dumont and Vernon Fiddler accounted for three goals and three assists. Arnott also had an assist, Dumont had a goal and an assist and Fiddler added one assist.
"We got a few things rolling in preseason and it has carried over into the regular season," Arnott said. "I played with J.P last year so I move extremely well with him. Fiddler is the new guy and works so hard out there. A lot of people don't know how skilled he is."
Both Arnott and Mason gave credit to the play of the team for the opening night success. Arnott admits he and his teammates have read all of the stories about how this edition of the Predators isn't going to be as good as last season's.
"We have read that our team is not going to score as many goals as last season," Arnott said. "We know we have guys in this team who can score. But it is a combination of everybody having to contribute."
For the first goal Marek Zidlicky passed the puck from the right side, catching Arnott above the circle on the power play. Arnott sent a one-timer that beat Colorado goalie Peter Budaj between his pads at 4:31 of the first.
Nearly 10 minutes later, Arnott struck from close range. J.P. Dumont passed the puck from the right side in front of the crease as Arnott skated in from the left, firing the puck into the wide side of the net as Budaj moved out of position to the right.
"It was a fast-paced game in the first period," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "There were a lot of opportunities on both ends. Nashville scored the type of goals that they generally do. They get it back to the point and blast away into traffic."
In the second period, Nashville made it 3-0 as Dan Hamhuis beat Budaj low to his stick side from the middle of the left circle.
At 4:41 of the third period, Greg de Vries fired a one-timer from just inside the blue line. Dumont tipped it past Budaj high to his glove side.
"We got our goals," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We got a goal on the power play. We got goals in transition. We got mucking goals. We got goals because we had traffic in front of the net. That's how we are going to have to play if we are going to be successful."
Budaj was replaced after the last goal by Tyler Weiman. Budaj faced 22 shots and made 18 saves.
"I wanted to get Tyler into the game to see how he would handle it," Quenneville said. "I thought he did a great job in net and handled the challenge well. At that time it was 4-0, so it was an easy call."
The Predators' future is in doubt as a potential local ownership group continues to negotiate with Nashville mayor Karl Dean and the Sports Authority. Despite the drive for season ticket sales, there were several empty seats in the lower bowl. Attendance was 777 short of a sellout.
Notes:Arnott earned the 699th and 700th points of his career. ... Predators owner Craig Leipold, who is still trying to sell the team, spent part of the game in Section 303 where he has purchased season tickets. ... Nashville's Shea Weber left in the first period with a leg injury and did not return. ... The Predators are 3-5-1 in home openers.
Avs up 2-0 in the first vs the sharks.
4-1 with goals from stastny and duke.
5-1 wojo 6-1 ryan smyth
Nice win. On a side note, I have never been so happy that hockey season starts in the middle of football.
Avalanche 6, Sharks 2
DENVER (AP) -Paul Stastny put together an impressive rookie season, and now he is working on an even better sophomore campaign.
Stastny had a goal and four assists, and Milan Hejduk scored twice and set up another tally as the Colorado Avalanche broke open a tight game with four third-period goals and beat the San Jose Sharks 6-2 Sunday night.
Avalanche captain Joe Sakic had a goal and an assist to move past Phil Esposito into eighth place on the NHL career points list with 1,591.
Stastny, the runner-up to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for rookie of the year honors last season, has four goals and four assists in Colorado's first three games. He had a hat trick in the Avalanche's season-opening win against Dallas on Wednesday.
"I don't think they're coming easy. I've gotten a couple of good bounces," said Stastny, who had 28 goals and 50 assists last season. "I'm playing with some good linemates."
Hejduk scored late in the first period, less than three minutes after Sakic notched the 611th goal of his 19-year career. Sakic's goal moved him out of a tie for 14th place with Bobby Hull on the career list.
"Obviously, I've been around a long time," Sakic said. "For me to have played this long and get to those guys who meant a lot to the game, it's an honor."
The Avalanche poured it on in the third after Ryan Clowe scored the first of his two goals to make it 2-1 after two periods. Just 52 seconds into the final frame, Hejduk found Stastny in front to give Colorado a two-goal cushion.
"I thought last year he was at a pretty impressive level, and to just keep getting better is a great sign," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. "With the puck, his patience level is at the highest end of the game."
Hejduk scored 1:55 later, and the rout was on. Marek Svatos and Ryan Smyth scored 18 seconds apart midway through the third to make it 6-1 and chase goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
"We were pushing the pace in the second, and we were aggressive and going down and they didn't have much," Nabokov said. "The third period starts, and we give up a 3-on-2, and that made the momentum for them."
The Sharks played from behind most of the game in part because of four penalties in the first period, two whistled simultaneously. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jeremy Roenick were sent off with 5:05 left in the first period, and it took only 23 seconds for the Avalanche to cash in on the 5-on-3 advantage. Sakic fed Stastny down low, then one-timed the return pass to open the scoring.
Only 14 seconds after Joe Thornton drew a holding penalty, Sakic fed Hejduk, who made it 2-0 with a shot that beat Nabokov on the short side.
"We have to play better without the puck, and we just didn't compete," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "When you are that sloppy you are going to get embarrassed, and we were."
Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj, who had 24 saves, came up big after Hejduk drew a double minor for high-sticking 1:12 into the game. The Sharks had five shots during the four-minute power play, including a point-blank chance by Roenick, but failed to score.
Notes: Avalanche D Scott Hannan faced his former team for the first time since signing with Colorado in the offseason. Hannan played eight seasons for the Sharks. ... Roenick is three goals shy of 500 in the NHL. ... The last Avalanche player to score five points in a game was Sakic, who did it Feb. 15, 2007, at Calgary.
Theodore's knee 'ready to go'
Not like a repaired knee will help his suckyness but maybe just maybe he could try and earn his pay check. Hilarious!
CENTENNIAL - It isn't every day when a one-time MVP agrees to a stint in the minors, but the brief trip proved to be a positive one for Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore.
The 2002 Hart and Vezina trophies winner, looking to test his surgically repaired knee, tended goal Saturday when the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters made their American Hockey League season debut.
"I didn't have a problem going down there, and I'm really happy I did it," Theodore said Tuesday. "The best plan would have been to play a preseason game, but after talking with (goalie coach) Jeff (Hackett) and with everybody, we felt the smartest thing to do was to get a good game under my belt."
Theodore didn't get a win - the Monsters lost 3-2 to the Grand Rapids Griffins - but he made 21 saves and got in the work he needed. He since has been added to the Avalanche's active roster and is expected to play in one of this weekend's games, Friday in St. Louis or Saturday against Columbus at the Pepsi Center.
"I got some shots, some traffic, some bumping," said Theodore, who hadn't played in a minor league game since 1998-99 with the Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate in Fredericton, New Brunswick. "I tested my knee with some awkward plays and it was fine. I got exactly what I wanted to get.
"The rest is up to the coach. I'm just waiting for my start, my chance. There's no pain - everything is feeling really good. I feel as strong as ever. It was hot in the building, too, so I could test my conditioning. I wanted to make sure that, when I play here, I was ready."
Theodore skated for about a week before training camp when he felt pain in his knee. A magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed a tear under the kneecap, and he underwent arthroscopic surgery Aug. 29.
It was an unexpected setback for Theodore, coming off a 13-15-1 season and begins 2007-08 as Peter Budaj's backup with plenty to prove in the final year of a contract that pays him $6 million.
Theodore worked out with Hackett for several days after the surgery before he was allowed to practice with the team.
"It was good to have the chance to work with Jeff at this time of the year to make sure you don't get into some bad habits," he said. "It's good now to be able to make full practices and to get your own net."
Until Tuesday, Theodore shared practice time with Budaj and Tyler Weiman, the backup goalie in the first three games. Weiman was assigned to Lake Erie on Monday.
"I'm back here and I'm ready to go," Theodore said.
Avalanche-Blues Oct 12, 2007, 8:30 PM EDT
In his first season with the St. Louis Blues, Paul Kariya has made a major impact by continuing to do what he's best at.
The veteran forward and one of the game's top assist men looks to continue his strong early play, and the Blues try for a third straight victory when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.
Kariya assisted on both Brad Boyes' goals in a 4-1 home victory over Nashville on Wednesday. Kariya, who signed a three-year, $18 million free-agent deal with the Blues (2-1-0) after leading the Predators in scoring the last two years, leads St. Louis with five points - all assists.
"I didn't do too much," Kariya said. "Boysey scored two great goals. He's a scorer, he's got great hands around the net, and he showed it."
Kariya, who turns 33 Tuesday, had at least 50 assists in three of his last four seasons and has 505 for his career that started with Anaheim in 1994.
He's tallied four assists in his last two games, but has a goal in each of his last two versus Colorado - the team he played 51 games and had 25 assists for in 2003-04.
Kariya looks to help the Blues start 3-1-0 for the first time since 1997-98. St. Louis has scored nine goals in consecutive wins since falling 3-2 at Phoenix in its opener on Oct. 4.
Boyes, who had 17 goals for Boston and St. Louis last season, has a team-leading three goals so far.
St. Louis, which has missed the playoffs the last two seasons after 25 straight postseason appearances, was 3-1 against Colorado in 2006-07 and should face Jose Theodore in net Friday.
Theodore, who was a disappointing 13-15-1 with a 3.26 goals-against average last season - his first full one with the Avalanche - is expected to make his first start since undergoing offseason knee surgery.
"He's practiced really well and looked sharp," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville told the team's official Web site. "He's anticipating getting in there and helping us out. We feel it's a good opportunity to start him."
Though he hasn't faced the Blues since 2002 while with Montreal, Theodore is 0-3-0 with a 4.03 GAA in his career St. Louis.
Like the Blues, the Avalanche (2-1-0) are determined to return to the playoffs after failing to do so last season for the first time since 1993-94 when the team was located in Quebec.
Colorado hasn't played since a 6-2 win over San Jose on Sunday. Paul Stastny had a goal and a career-high five points.
Stastny, who had 28 goals and 50 assists and was runner-up to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for rookie of the year last season, had a hat trick in a 4-3 win over Dallas to open the season. All eight of Stastny's points this season, though, have come at home.
"I thought last year he was at a pretty impressive level, and to just keep getting better is a great sign," Quenneville said. "With the puck, his patience level is at the highest end of the game."
Joe Sakic had a goal and an assist against the Sharks to move past Phil Esposito into eighth place on the NHL career points list with 1,591. He had two goals versus the Blues last season, but none in St. Louis.
Theodore in net Yikes! 1-1 13 min left in the third..
Avs D sucking the post and manny legacy extends his ownage of the avs one more game, theo actually played pretty good.
Blues 4, Avalanche 1
ST. LOUIS (AP) -Manny Legace gets up emotionally every time he faces the Colorado Avalanche and it shows in his record.
The St. Louis goalie made 24 saves to help the Blues to a 4-1 victory over Colorado on Friday night. That improved Legace's career mark against the Avalanche to 12-1 and his goals-against average to 1.85.
"It's just one of those teams that you have to be up for," Legace said of the Avalanche. "Hopefully, it keeps up. I respect this team so much. They're so talented, if you don't show up against these guys, they're going to bury you in a hurry."
Brad Boyes scored his fourth goal of the season and Dan Hinote added two goals in the third period for the Blues, who extended their winning streak to three games and are 3-1-0 for the first time since 1997-98. Jay McClement had the other St. Louis goal and Paul Kariya picked up an assist, giving him six this season.
Colorado's Jose Theodore, who made 19 saves, fell to 0-4 lifetime against the Blues. Paul Stastny scored his fifth goal for the Avalanche.
The Avalanche had the better of the play in the first two periods, but only managed to get one by Legace.
"He made some big saves and he didn't leave any loose pucks in front of him," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "Their defense played well around the net area."
With the game tied 1-1 early in the third period, Lee Stempniak tried to beat Theodore with a wraparound attempt. Theodore stopped that, but the puck came to McClement on the right side. Theodore stopped McClement's first attempt, but McClement put in his own rebound to make it 2-1 at the 4:57 mark.
Just over a minute later, Hinote, who was a healthy scratch the past two games, converted Jamal Mayer's centering attempt to make it 3-1 with 14:00 left.
Hinote was just happy to be back on the ice.
"Obviously, when you're not playing, you don't feel like you're a part of the team," he said. "It was good to get the call. I was just trying to chip in."
Quenneville said McClement's goal was the backbreaker.
"That second goal was huge," he said. "Whoever got that was probably in control of the game, and we weren't very good after that."
Hinote scored again at 15:59 to make it a three-goal lead.
Theodore, who lost his starting position to Peter Budaj at the end of last season, was starting his first game after recovering from minor knee surgery. The Blues greeted him rudely when just over a minute into the game, Kariya skated in alone down the right side. Theodore stopped Kariya's shot, but Boyes put the rebound home at 1:14.
Quenneville felt Theodore did fine in his first action.
"The first couple of periods, he didn't get a lot of work," he said, "but I thought he looked good in net.
Stastny, who grew up in St. Louis, tied it when he banked in a shot off Kariya's skate that surprised Legace.
Notes: Colorado F Andrew Brunnette played in his 375th consecutive game, the third-longest active streak in the NHL. ... Kariya has scored a point in all four games. ... The Blues are 2-0 at Scottrade Center. St. Louis went 18-19-4 at home last season and were 30-42-10 the last two. ... Nine of the Blues' 15 goals have come in the third period.
Flames-Avalanche Oct 16, 2007, 9:00 PM EDT
The Colorado Avalanche just missed the postseason last year after finishing one point behind the Calgary Flames for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Although the Avalanche can't erase what happened last year, they can get a measure of revenge on Tuesday when they look to extend their perfect start at the Pepsi Center and win back-to-back games for the first time this season as they host the Flames.
Colorado (3-2-0) has alternated wins and losses in its first five games. The Avalanche were hoping to come out strong after finishing 15-2-2 in their final 19 games. Despite the impressive finish, it wasn't enough to overcome its slow start, and Colorado missed the playoffs despite finishing with one more win than Calgary (2-2-1).
It's because of the poor start and the effect it had on the remainder of the season that the Avalanche began this season determined to avoid a repeat.
"I think we found last year, we got caught maybe being behind it too late," coach Joel Quennville said. "Games 1 through 10 are going to be as meaningful as games 72 through 82."
The Avalanche are 3-0-0 at the Pepsi Center, where they've outscored opponents 15-6. Colorado is coming off a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Joe Sakic scored three goals for his 15th career hat trick, and Peter Budaj recorded 24 saves.
Sakic scored both of Colorado's third-period goals, and he opened the game with a tally at the 6:07 mark. The 38-year-old captain is one hat trick shy of Peter Stastny's franchise record.
"He had a great game tonight, and not just his production," Quennville said of Sakic. "I thought he had good energy, he played well all over the ice. It was his best game of the year."
Sakic has 614 career goals, 38 of which have come against Calgary - the most of any team he's faced. He had five goals and 20 points against the Flames last season and is two points shy of 100 against them lifetime.
The Avalanche took the final four meetings between the teams and three of the four games played at the Pepsi Center en route to winning the 2006-07 season series 5-3-0.
The Flames come to Denver after winning back-to-back games over the weekend, including a 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday, 7-4. Kristian Huselius scored two goals and Miikka Kiprusoff had 21 saves in Saturday's win as Calgary pulled away with a three-goal third period.
"Hockey is a game of momentum, and if you are not on top of your game each and every shift it can get away from you," said Flames coach Mike Keenan. "We got some opportunities in the third and we capitalized on them, then we learned something about defending a lead."
This is the final game of a four-game road trip for the Flames, who return home to play seven straight beginning Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings.
"It feels good as a team to put back-to-back wins together in two very tough places to play," said captain Jarome Iginla, who had a goal and an assist on Saturday. "If you look at the standings, we are not happy with where we are at, but it is something to build on."
Just curious if Omaners are going to the Av vs Penguins game on NOV. 1?
Just a crappy first period just crappy.....
4-1 and budaj is pulled for theo.......god save us.
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