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'Lanche Slip By Canucks

Joe Sakic missed the two previous games with a strained groin, and Patrick Roy was pulled from Saturday's loss to St. Louis with a similar injury.

Showing remarkable recuperative powers, Sakic and Roy put the hurt on the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Sakic had a goal and an assist, and Roy made 36 saves as the Avalanche outlasted Vancouver 2-1.

Colorado, which extended its home-unbeaten streak to 11 games (9-0-2), lost star forward Peter Forsberg early in the second period with a mild concussion and a cut near his right eye that required seven stitches. He did not return.

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  • Roy's victory was the 431st of his career, leaving him just three wins shy of Jacques Plante (434), who stands second on the NHL career list. Terry Sawchuk leads with 447.

    "I decided this morning after practice that I would play," Roy said. "I had no problem at all."

    Roy, who did not yield a goal until the third period, said, "I was hoping not to give one up, but I guess I'm not a shutout goalie."

    Roy has 47 career shutouts.

    Sakic, who said he played without pain, admitted his team did not play well in the second and third periods, when the Avalanche were outshot 33-12. "But Patrick played great," Sakic said. "This win belongs to Patrick. We needed this one big time (after two road losses)."

    Vancouver's Garth Snow had 23 saves.

    "On the first goal, Sakic came in with good speed," Snow said. "He's probably got the best wrister in the league, and he hit it mid-stride. That's really tough on a goalie. On the second goal, he made a great pass."

    Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said referee Mark aucette's ruling on Forsberg's injury was the "right call," but he remained adamant that the NHL's best players need to be better protected.

    "The sad part is we're trying to promote our game and sell the greatest game on Earth, and we're without our greatest salesman," Hartley said. "We can't afford to lose Forsberg to a shot to the head."

    Forsberg was to be re-evaluated on Wednesday, but Hartley hinted that he likely will miss two or three games as well as the All-Star game on Sunday.

    Canucks coach Marc Crawford, a former Colorado head coach, said his team "made a couple of crucial errors, including one in the third period that we just can't make. The wrong guy ended up with the puck, Sakic. Sakic is really, I thought, all they had tonight him and Patrick Roy."

    Crawford, 0-5-2 against his former team, said, "It wasn't meant to be tonight. We'll beat them we will."

    In a scoreless first period that saw Colorado outshoot Vancouver 13-4, the Canucks withstood a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:43. Snow stopped Sandis Ozolinsh's shot and a rebound by Sakic during Colorado's two-man advantage, and the Canucks killed off both penalties.

    Vancouver rebounded in the second period, outshooting the Avalanche 14-6. Snow stopped both Sakic and Adam Deadmarsh on short-handed breakaways in the period. Vancouver again withstood a big penalty a five-minute major and game misconduct on Todd Bertuzzi for boarding. Bertuzzi's hit sent Forsberg into the glass.

    But Colorado got off only one shot during the penalty, which actually lasted just three minutes because of Dave Reid's goalie-interference penalty.

    At 14:19, Chris Dingman poked the puck ahead of defenseman Mattias Ohlund to Sakic, who beat Snow with a wrist shot from the slot.

    Colorado's Shjon Podein hit the left post in the waning seconds of the period.

    At 6:26 of the third, Sakic brought the puck across the blue line and fed Deadmarsh in the slot for his 14th goal and a 2-0 lead.

    Less than a minute later, the Canucks countered with a power-play goal by Trent Klatt. Markus Naslund's shot from the point was deflected by Klatt past Roy at 7:16, and the Canucks peppered Roy with shots in the closing minutes bt could not convert.

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