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Note to Avs Fans: Buy More Hats

Saturday, 10.13.2007 / 10:37 PM MT / Features
By Aaron Lopez  - Special to
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Note to Avs Fans: Buy More Hats
Avalanche fans might need to buy more hats.

On Saturday against Columbus, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic recorded the 15th hat trick of his storied career with a first period goal and a pair of tallies in the third period. It marked the second time in the first three home games of the season that Avs fans tossed their lids onto the ice to celebrate a Colorado hat trick.

Sakic’s three-goal effort followed Paul Stastny’s opening night hat trick against Dallas.

While Avalanche fans have become accustomed to Sakic’s heroics throughout the years, Saturday’s contest was a night of firsts, in a way.

Coming into the game, Columbus netminder Pascal Leclaire hadn’t allowed a goal in his first two starts of the 2007-08 season.

It took the Avalanche just over six minutes to fix that.

Sakic deflected an Andrew Brunette backhand attempt into the goal at the 6:07 mark of the first period to give the Avs an early 1-0 lead.

In the second period with the scored tied, 1-1, the Avalanche again accomplished something the Blue Jackets had not seen all season.

With Colorado on the power play, Milan Hejduk took a pass from Ryan Smyth and fired a shot from the slot on Leclaire, who stopped the attempt. However, Hejduk corralled his own rebound and put a shot past the goaltender, marking the first time this season Columbus had given up a power-play goal. The Blue Jackets were 19-of-19 killing penalties up until that point.

Hejduk then notched his second goal of the game at the 9:34 mark of the middle frame to give the home team a 3-1 advantage after two periods.

In the third period, Avalanche fans littered the ice with hats as Sakic took over the game. The 19-year veteran notched his second goal of the contest –  and the Avalanche’s second power-play tally of the night – only 1:21 into the final frame. Just under 10 minutes later, Sakic completed the hat trick off a pass from Wojtek Wolski at 10:38. 

“I got lucky on the first one, it banged off my arm,” said Sakic. “But it was a solid performance by the team. We knew that Columbus was playing pretty well defensively. They haven’t given up much, so it was a good third period for us.”

Almost overlooked in Saturday’s contest was the stellar play of Peter Budaj. The Colorado netminder stopped 24-of-25 shots to earn his third victory of the year.

“It was a great win today. The defense played well and it shows on the scoreboard,” said Budaj. “When you play defense first, you’re always going to create some chances off turnovers. The penalty kill was very good today, so we have to keep going. We’ll enjoy this tonight, then we have to go back to work.”

Notes: Sakic’s three goals gives him 34 points (13g/21a) in 23 games against Columbus…Colorado is 22-1-1-1 in 25 all-time meetings against Columbus, the highest points percentage (.920) of any NHL team against a single opponent…The Avs are 12-1-0 in 13 meetings versus Columbus at home… The Avs have allowed only one power-play goal over the past three games, killing 15-of-16 power-play opportunities. After allowing a goal to Jason Arnott on Oct. 4, the Avalanche has killed off 19-of –its-last-20 opponent power play chances (95%)
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