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Forsberg's hat trick helps Colorado roll

©Associated Press

December 30, 2002


DENVER -- As one of the league's top scorers, Peter Forsberg always has taken an odd approach: pass first, score second.

Forsberg had his fifth hat trick as Colorado ended a two-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory against Los Angeles on Sunday.

"I'd rather assist than score," Forsberg said. "But somehow, there is no way around it."

Forsberg scored twice on the power play for his first hat trick since March3, 1999. Dean McAmmond had a goal and two assists, and Milan Hejduk had three assists.

Los Angeles lost its fourth consecutive road game.

Radim Vrbata gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal 3:47 into the second. With Michael Cammalleri off for hooking, McAmmond pushed the puck to Steve Reinprecht, who carried the puck across the blue line and set up Vrbata's one-timer with a cross-ice pass.

McAmmond made it 3-1 by poking the puck between Felix Potvin's pads with 5:34 left after receiving a pass from Reinprecht. Forsberg scored his second power-play goal 2:42 into the third and made it 5-1 when he sent a wrister over Potvin's shoulder 3:44 later.

"Sometimes, they go in when you are feeling good," he said. "When I crossed the blue line the last time, I made up my mind I was going to shoot because I thought I was hot."

Red Wings, Stars still can't settle matters

DALLAS -- Tomas Holmstrom scored twice as Detroit stretched its unbeaten streak to eight (5-0-3) with a 2-2 tie at Dallas, the fourth tie this season between division leaders who won't meet again in the regular season.

Holmstrom scored early in the first two periods to give Detroit leads only to have Dallas tie it by both intermissions on goals by Jere Lehtinen and Brenden Morrow. The teams tied 3-3 on Nov.3 and Dec.6 and 1-1 on Dec.19.

The season series is a deadlock, and the overall series is only one game from being one as well. Dallas has an 88-87-33 series lead.

BLUES 5, BLUE JACKETS 2: Martin Rucinsky and Cory Stillman scored power-play goals against the league's best penalty-kill unit for host St. Louis.

The Blues beat the Blue Jackets for the second straight night after a 6-1 victory at Columbus and won their fourth in a row overall. The Blues were 2-for-4 with the man advantage against the Blue Jackets, who had killed 89 percent of power plays coming in.

The Blues had a 15-4 shots advantage during the second period and finally cashed in on Rucinsky's goal for a 3-2 lead with 2:42 left. He scored on a one-timer off of a pass by Alexander Khavanov.

FLAMES 4, DUCKS 2: Host Calgary won in coach Darryl Sutter's coaching debut. Sutter, who began the season as San Jose's coach but was fired Dec.1, inherited a team last in the league with 73 goals and a league-worst home record of 2-9-4-1.

With the score 2-2, Oleg Saprykin put in a rebound of Chris Clark's shot past Jean-Sebastien Giguere with 8:28 left. Stephane Yelle made it 4-2 with 5:32 left when he took a pass from Blake Sloan and shot it past Giguere.

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