Avalanche 4, Canucks 3

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 13, 2013
Jan Hejda scored with 7.6 seconds remaining and Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 24 shots, helping the Colorado Avalanche rally for a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Hejda scored on a shot from just inside the blue line that beat a screened Cory Schneider. It was Hejda's first goal of the season. Gabriel Landeskog, Cody McLeod and P.A. Parenteau also scored to help the Avalanche beat the Canucks for the first time since Jan. 18, 2011. Maxim Lapierre, Jannik Hansen and Jason Garrison scored for the Northwest Division-leading Canucks. Moments after McLeod tied it for the Avalanche early in the third period, Garrison put the Canucks back on top with a shot that found a small gap between Giguere's left skate and the goal post. The Avalanche came right back, throwing rush after rush at Schneider, who was making his return to the net after missing a game because of the flu. That pressure eventually paid off when Matt Duchene sent a pass into the middle of the ice that Parenteau tipped in between Schneider's pads. Paul Stastny nearly gave the Avs the lead late in the period, when he skated in on a breakaway, but he was stuffed by Schneider. The Canucks also withstood a late penalty. The contest looked appeared headed for overtime before Hejda skated in and unleashed the winning shot. His last goal was March 6, 2012, against Minnesota. The Canucks took a 2-1 lead in the second period with two quick goals - both courtesy of defensive breakdowns. Lapierre scored when Ryan O'Reilly made a bad clearing pass and, 2:14 later, Hansen tapped in a shot in front of the goal after Greg Zanon took a bad angle on a puck. It was Hansen's first goal in 12 games. Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa made a pass in the opening period he'd like to have back. Scrambling for control of the puck in the corner near his own net, Bieksa threw it toward a player streaking toward the goal. Only, it was Landeskog, who corralled the puck and lined it over Schneider to give the Avs a 1-0 lead before most of the fans had time to settle into their seats. From there, it was the Giguere show as the goalie made two sensational saves on Daniel Sedin, sliding across the mouth of the goal each time to thwart shot attempts by the Canucks' second-leading scorer. Giguere also got a favorable bounce when Bieksa's blast near the blue line clanged off the crossbar late in the first period. The veteran goaltender recently called his teammates out for their uninspired play in a season that's spiraled out of control. Giguere was frustrated since some players were more concerned about their vacation plans to Las Vegas than playing hockey. Since his rant, the Avalanche have picked up their play, winning in Anaheim and losing in a shootout to the Kings in Los Angeles. Goaltender Sami Aittokallio made his NHL debut in Los Angeles on Thursday, but came out in the third period because of cramps. He served as Giguere's backup Saturday with Semyon Varlamov sidelined by a sore hip. Notes: Avs D Erik Johnson was a healthy scratch Saturday. He missed 11 games earlier this season with a head injury. ... The Avalanche announced Friday they will retire No. 52 in honor of longtime D Adam Foote during a ceremony next season. Foote helped the franchise win Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001. ... Canucks forwards Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin each had an assist on Hansen's goal.
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