DENVER (AP) - Chris Stewart scored 21 seconds into the game, opening a four-goal flurry in the first period that carried the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Craig Anderson had 28 saves and a hand in the Avalanche's first goal, getting a rare assist as a result of his block of Kristian Huselius' game-opening shot. Anderson sent the rebound out into the middle of the ice, where Wojtek Wolski popped it out into the open to the streaking Stewart, who finished the breakaway with a backhand shot past goalie Steve Mason.
The score was among the fastest to start a game in team history, but still 13 seconds shy of the quickest. Antti Laaksonen scored eight seconds into a game, also against Columbus, on Feb. 10, 2006. That's also the quickest goal ever allowed by Columbus.
Wolski added two goals for Colorado, boosting his team-leading total to 15 on the season with his eighth career multi-goal game. His second goal came on a power play with 4:15 elapsed, after which Mason was pulled from the net in favor of backup Mathieu Garon. It was the earliest of five mid-game benchings this season for Mason, who faced seven shots before exiting.
Rebounding from a lopsided loss Tuesday night to Washington, the Avalanche went up 4-0 less than four minutes later as John-Michael Liles poked one through during a scramble in front of the goal. It was Colorado's fifth goal scored on a 5-on-3 power play this season, tying Toronto for most in the league.
Milan Hejduk, back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with a knee injury, was at the center of the Avs' quick start, racking up a pair of assists during Colorado's offensive burst. Hejduk also scored Colorado's final goal, with 3:28 remaining, taking Matt Duchene's pass from behind the net and knocking it through for his 13th goal of the season.
Columbus, in a 2-9-5 slide since opening the season 12-6-2, finally broke through for a goal at 3:29 of the second on R.J. Umberger's power-play score that he backhanded past Anderson.
The Blue Jackets had another power-play score when Jason Chimera beat Anderson at 13:24 of the second.
NOTES: Wolski also scored two goals on Oct. 27 at Edmonton. ... Colorado's Marek Svatos missed a third game because of a groin injury. ... Forward Brandon Yip made his NHL debut for the Avs. He's the sixth Colorado player to make his league debut this season, more than any other NHL team. ... The last time Mason was pulled from a game was during a 6-3 loss to Toronto at Columbus on Dec. 3. ... Chimera has recorded a point in six of his last nine games. ... Columbus lost the first in a four-game trip, dropping its road record to 6-9-3.