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Late goal helps Avalanche over Jets, 3-2

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DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Avalanche showed they can win playing from behind as well as with a lead.

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Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist in the third period, Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 shots and the streaking Avalanche beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Sunday night.

Matt Duchene and Jan Hejda also scored and Gabriel Landeskog added two assists for the Avalanche. Under first-year coach Patrick Roy, they are 10-1 for the second time in franchise history.

''That was the first time we came from behind in the third period,'' Stastny said. ''We got chances and we didn't stop. We just kept going.''

Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little had a goal and assist each for the Jets.

The Avalanche trailed 2-1 entering the third but came out strong at the start of the period. They put nine quick shots on goalie Al Montoya before Hejda tied it with 12:47 left off an assist by Stastny.

Stastny netted the winner with 5:28 left to give Colorado its fourth straight victory.

''When (Alex Tanguay) brings two guys to him, you know something good is going to happen,'' Stastny said. ''I was just going back door and trying to yell as loud as I can to Landy because he was looking to shoot. He changed his mind at the last second and just gave me a tap-in. He passed it between two sticks. That's something we practice.''

The rally was ignited before the Avalanche took the ice in the third period. During the intermission Roy broke out video tape to correct some things to help free up the offense.

''We had to make some adjustments because the way they play defensively,'' Roy said. ''We wanted to transfer pucks. That's what generated our best chances and our goal. They overload the puck side. We moved the puck and that opened the ice for us.''

It helped Stastny break out with his second goal and eighth point of the season.

''The goals to me aren't as important,'' he said. ''As long as someone on our line is getting them, someone from our team is contributing.''

Montoya stopped 33 shots before being pulled for an extra skater with 1:30 left. Despite controlling the puck in Colorado's end, the Jets managed just one shot with the advantage.

''They're the hottest team in the league right now so I was ready from the gate,'' Montoya said. ''We knew what they were going to bring. Just disappointing to not come away with at least a point.''

The Jets went 0 for 5 on the power play to add frustration to the loss. Winnipeg has failed to capitalize on 25 power-play chances in the last eight games and has just five goals in 49 chances this season.

''Power play is getting old. These are the same players we had last year and there was a reason why we were last year,'' coach Claude Noel said. ''We're seeing some of the same things we saw last year. We don't make the greatest decisions, we don't execute, and these are the things we lamented before. We were 0-for-5; it cost us the game.''

Wheeler gave Winnipeg a 2-1 lead when his hard shot from the right side slipped through Varlamov's legs with 9:58 left in the period.

Montoya tried to make it stand up but after tremendous pressure, the Avalanche tied it. Stastny's shot from a sharp angle bounced out to Hejda, who used a screen by Tanguay screen to beat Montoya with 12:47 left.

The Avalanche scored first when Ryan Wilson started a 2-on-1 break by putting a pass on the tape of Steve Downie's stick in the neutral zone. Montoya stopped Downie's slap shot from just inside the blue line, but the puck caromed right to Duchene, who was skating down the left side. He scored in the open net at 8:04 of the first.

Little matched the goal midway through the period after Nick Holden's shot off the back boards bounced to him in the right circle. His one-timer beat Varlamov stick side.

Winnipeg couldn't generate many chances after that, opening the door for Colorado's comeback.

''It was pretty special to win that one. The first time we've been behind going into the third,'' Duchene said. ''New territory for us, but we believed and we had some big guys step up.''

NOTES: The Jets announced before the game that D Paul Postma has a blood clot in his leg and will be sidelined indefinitely. Postma played Saturday in the Jets' 2-1 shootout win against the Dallas Stars. Postma will take blood thinners and remain with the team through Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Blues. Postma will be examiner further when the Jets return to Winnipeg. ... Jets C Olli Jokinen played in his 1,100th NHL game. ... Duchene matched Joe Sakic and Chris Stewart for the most goals scored in the month of October in a season since the team moved from Quebec. Sakic scored nine in 1997, and Stewart matched it three years later. ... The Avalanche have killed 18 straight penalties.

AP NEWS
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