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Old 12-12-2007, 11:03 PM   #121
Bronx33
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Default Blue Jackets 4, Avalanche 1

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Fredrik Norrena stopped 15 shots, and the Columbus Blue Jackets relied on their defense to beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Wednesday night.

It was the second time in a week the Blue Jackets defeated the Avalanche, a first for the franchise that was 2-21-2 against Colorado before the back-to-back wins.

Kris Beech, Jared Boll, Manny Malhotra and Sergei Fedorov scored, but the Blue Jackets went more than 14 minutes without a shot and mustered only one in the second period. The teams finished with 16 each.

High-scoring Colorado, coming off a 9-5 win over St. Louis on Monday, was stifled in the offensive zone by an aggressive, checking Columbus defense. Ben Guite scored the Avalanche goal, with the line of Ryan Smyth, Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk going scoreless after piling up 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in five games.

Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock earned his 450th NHL victory in his 850th career game. He is 450-289-111 with Dallas, Philadelphia and Columbus, including 42-40-11 in slightly over a season with the Blue Jackets.

Just like when they met last week, the Blue Jackets scored first. Midway through the opening period, Dan Fritsche dug the puck out of the corner and skated along the back boards. Malhotra crashed the net, skating along the goal line, a step ahead of a defender. Fritsche passed to him, and Malhotra chipped the puck high over goaltender Jose Theodore's shoulder for his fifth of the season.

Both teams scored on their first shots of the second period - also Columbus' only shot of the frame. Despite the offensive firepower on both teams, the goals came from unlikely sources.

The Avalanche tied it on Guite's second of the season, off a nifty pass from Andrew Brunette. John-Michael Liles flipped the puck on net and it deflected to Brunette left of the goal. He faked a shot before saucering a pass to Guite at 3:07.

Boll scored his third - and first goal and point in 22 games - when he took a drop pass from Curtis Glencross and zipped a hard slap shot from between the circles off the leg of defenseman Scott Hannan to make it 2-1 at 11:32.

Colorado applied pressure at the outset of the third, but Beech came up with a big goal to stretch the lead to two.

Fedorov added an empty-netter.

Notes: The Blue Jackets activated C Jiri Novotny (concussion) from the injured list. He had missed eight games. ... The one shot by the Blue Jackets in the second period was a season low. ... The combined 32 shots was the lowest total ever in a Blue Jackets game. ... Hejduk's seven-game point streak ended, as did Columbus RW Nikolai Zherdev's five-game goal streak.
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