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Sakic Lifts Troubled Avs

Home is suppose to be a safe haven, except for the Colorado Avalanche, who have struggled just to play at .500 on home ice while being 21-11-4 on the road.

Joe Sakic is out to change all that. He had a goal and two assists Thursday night as the Avalanche won for only the second time in nine home games, beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

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  • "We wanted to make sure we're playing well, especially on home ice down the stretch," Sakic said. "Everybody stayed focused and battled, and it's quite obvious that in the playoffs you want to play like that and win your games at home.

    Milan Hejduk added a goal and an assist and Adam Foote got his first goal since Feb. 14 for the Avalanche, who are 2-5-2 in their past nine home games and reached the .500 level at home, 14-14-4. Patrick Roy stopped 27 shots in winning his 404th game.

    Ron Francis got his 404th goal and Andre Kovalenko his third goal in five games with the Hurricanes, 0-2-3 in their last five road games. Carolina, with the NHL's worst power play, was 1-for-6 and failed to convert a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period.

    "Special teams were a big part of the game," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "Killing off the 5-on-3 when they had the 1-0 lead was big. It definitely would have put us behind the eight-ball."

    Carolina is 17-35-9 on the road against the Colorado/Quebec franchise.

    Francis gave the Hurricane a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 1:18 of the first period. Ray Sheppard set up the scoring chance from behind the net and Francis sent the puck past Roy's stick.

    The Hurricane had a one-minute, 22-second 5-on-3 chance midway through the period, but managed only two shots. Carolina goaltender Trevor Kidd, who was denied his 100th career win, stopped Sakic's shot from the red line and a wrist shot from point blank in the first period.

    "Not getting anything on the 5-on-3 was important because they ended up scoring on their 5-on-3," Carlina coach Paul Maurice said. "We have struggled a bit in the power play when we needed to get something, and we needed something to fall in for us."

    Kidd wasn't as fortunate in the second period when Colorado outshot Carolina 15-6 and scored twice to take a 2-1 lead. Foote beat two Hurricane defenders to the puck and flipped a shot over Kidd at 9:04.

    "They scored some nice goals and the line of Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic created some problems," Kidd said. "Colorado had three goals, but a lot of opportunities."

    Hejduk broke the tie at 12:14, and with the Avalanche on a 5-on-3 power play. Kidd stopped Sakic's shot from the slot. But Hejduk sent the rebound past Kidd for his 11th goal of the year.

    Sakic gave Colorado a two-goal cushion with his 33rd of the year at 2:57 of the third period. Kovalenko brought Carolina within 3-2 with a goal at 10:04.

    "It seems like we were playing just a little bit passive the first couple of periods at home and got behind the eight-ball," Foote said. "We were a team of desperation tonight, we needed the win at home, and we were going to do whatever it took to win."

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