Avalanche rally to defeat Jets

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Facing their first deficit after two periods this season, the Colorado Avalanche got a quick video lesson before the third period.

They proved to be quick students.

Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist in the third period, and the Avalanche rallied in the final 13 minutes to beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Sunday.

Matt Duchene and Jan Hejda also scored for Colorado, which has won four straight and improved to a league-best 10-1.

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

Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler had a goal and assist each and Al Montoya made 33 saves for the Jets.

Colorado, in the midst of playing six of seven at home, added to the hottest start in franchise history. The Avalanche are 6-1 against the Eastern Conference and have yet to lose to a Western Conference team in winning 10 of their first 11 overall.

"I deserve zero credit for (the start)," coach Patrick Roy said. "It's the players. They bought into it. They make the plays."

The players bought into Roy's teaching -- even in the middle of the game. Faced with the possibility of a rare loss, Roy broke out some video in the second intermission to correct some things before going out for the third period.

"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."

They created chances right from the start of the third but it looked like Montoya was going to deny them their 10th win after turning away six shots in the first three minutes. Colorado's pressure paid off when Hejda scored with the help of an Alex Tanguay screen at 7:13 of the period to make it 2-2.

Colorado kept the pressure on and Stastny scored the game winner with 5:28 left in the game.

"You could say we imploded," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "Our decisions were poor, but I thought our decisions were poor throughout the game. We were still able to be up 2-1 and maybe we could have closed the game out but the last two goals were mistakes that were poor in a lot of ways."

Winnipeg's power play also contributed to the loss. The Jets failed to cash in on five man-advantage situations and have now extended their power-play drought to eight games. They are 0-for-25 in that span.

"Power play has been the difference. It starts with me, with guys on the power play," forward Devin Setoguchi said. "We need to figure it out right away."

Winnipeg has just five power-play goals in 49 chances this season.

"We don't make the greatest decisions, we don't execute, and these are the things we lamented before," Noel said. "We were 0-for-5; it cost us the game."

The Jets, coming off their first overtime win of the season Friday in Dallas, showed no fatigue in the high altitude. Little quickly answered Duchene's goal midway through the first period to tie the game at 1-all.

Wheeler gave Winnipeg a 2-1 lead three seconds after Corey Sarich's roughing minor expired. Wheeler skated down the right side and his hard shot trickled through goalie Semyon Varlamov's legs with 10:02 left in the second period.

It was his fourth goal of the season.

Varlamov had 24 saves.

Duchene continued his hot start to the season with his ninth goal of the season 8:04 into the game. Duchene, skating down the left side, one-timed Steve Downie's rebound from just outside the circle into the open net.

That was all Colorado could manage until dominating the last 20 minutes to get the win.

"There wasn't a whole lot of flow in the first couple of periods," Duchene said. "Then the third period really picked up."

NOTES: Duchene's nine goals in October matched Joe Sakic and Chris Stewart for the most goals scored in the month of October since the team relocated from Quebec. Sakic did it in 1997, and Stewart had nine in 2010. ... The Jets played three overtime games in their first 13. They were 1-2 in extra time. ... Varlamov and fellow Avalanche G Jean-Sebastien Giguere came into Sunday's game with a combined 1.40 goals-against average, the top goalie tandem in the NHL. They also owned a league-best 95.8 save percentage. ... Winnipeg C Olli Jokinen played in his 1,100th career game Sunday.
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