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Svatos Scores Twice to Help Avs Win

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DENVER (AP) _ Marek Svatos can't tell a lie _ the puck went off his skate.

However, he wasn't trying to kick in the winning goal during the Colorado Avalanche's 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

The puck simply grazed his skate and sneaked past Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. The replay booth looked at Svatos' goal _ his second of the night _ and it stood up to the challenge.

``It was a lucky goal,'' Svatos said.

Svatos, who missed most of training camp as he recovered from a fractured right shoulder suffered last season, is starting to find his shot again. He hadn't scored in the two previous games _ both overtime losses _ after a 32-goal season last year.

Instead of getting frustrated, he went with a shorter stick. Svatos shaved an inch off his stick to see if it made a difference, and it did.

``If that's all it takes, I'm going to go shorter and shorter on the stick every day,'' he said.

Daniel Sedin opened the scoring for Vancouver with his third goal of the season early in the first period. Wojtek Wolski answered for Colorado later in the first. Svatos scored his first goal early in the second period before Markus Naslund tied it for the Avalanche at the end of the second.

Svatos' goal with 5:44 remaining may have been justice for the Avs. It made up for one that was disallowed late in the second period. The Avalanche thought they had the go-ahead goal by Ian Laperriere with 9.2 seconds left, but the refs ruled the whistle had blown for a penalty before the goal. Laperriere, who thought he'd scored his 100th career goal, had already begun celebrating.

The Avalanche failed to score on the power play after the hooking penalty on Jan Bulis.

Laperrieri was disheartened he didn't get his 100th Sunday, but the win lessened the disappointed.

``They're human,'' he said of the officials. ``They make mistakes. We won so it doesn't matter.''

Jose Theodore stopped 26 shots for Colorado, while Luongo turned away 32 for Vancouver.

And now the Avalanche get a five-day break. They won't play again until Saturday when they host Edmonton.

``I think everybody is fresh, this isn't February,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ``We want to play. Getting the win was a recipe for a good week.''

Vancouver dropped its first game after winning two straight on the road to open the season.

All three of Colorado's goals were came on power plays, as the Avalanche converted three of eight chances. And they scored all three the same way _ by putting traffic in front of the net.

``All on passes from behind the net off rebounds,'' Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. ``Give them credit. They found a way to put the puck in the net off second opportunities.''

Joe Sakic had a pair of assists in the game and now has 87 points against Vancouver, the most of any active player.

Theodore came up big for Colorado in the closing minutes. Colorado's Mark Rycroft was called for high sticking with 3:05 left and the Canucks fired shot after shot at Theodore. Vancouver even pulled Luongo with 1:39 remaining.

``I take a lot of pride in making the big saves when they count,'' Theodore said. ``At the end you are anxious to see the time run out.''

Luongo, who was acquired from Florida for Todd Bertuzzi, is 0-5 against Colorado with four of the losses coming while he was with Florida.

After the game, Luongo talked about the game-winning goal by Svatos.

``I think Sakic took a wrist shot with a screen and I made the save,'' he said. ``It went just a bit too far and Svatos banged it right through my legs.''

Quenneville thought it was a good sign to see Svatos score a pair of goals. His shoulder may finally be healthy again.

``I think we are starting to see him back to what he's capable of,'' Quenneville said.

Notes: Brett Clark matched a career-best with two assists. ... With his second-period goal, Naslund is one away from 300.
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