ALSO ON SLAM!
Tuesday, December 7, 1999
AVALANCHE 5, Canucks 2
Ozolinsh scores three to beat Canucks
DENVER (AP) -- Sandis Ozolinsh didn't have a hat trick in his first 451 NHL games. When he finally got one, he thought he could have scored more.
The defenseman's performance Monday night gave Colorado a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks and moved the Avalanche into first place in the Northwest Division.
"I had three goals, but could very easily had four our five goals," Ozolinsh said. "I had so many opportunities."
Two of Ozolinsh's goals were unassisted on rink-long rushes. Eric Messier and Milan Hejduk added goals for the Avalanche, who improved to 3-0-2 against former coach Marc Crawford.
"I don't think there is a word in the dictionary for the kind of game Ozolinsh played tonight," coach Bob Hartley said. "He had great puck control, made smart decisions and had a lot of jump."
Patrick Roy stopped 23 shots.
Roy, with his 422nd career victory, ranks fourth on the NHL list and trails only Terry Sawchuk (447), Jacques Plante (434) and Tony Esposito (423).
Murray Baron and Markus Naslund had goals for the Canucks, who fell out of first place for the first time and have lost four of five games.
"This was a first-place game and there was not one guy on our team that is cut up or bruised," Crawford said. "That is not what playing for first place is about."
Vancouver goalie Garth Snow was chased in the first period for the second time in as many games, but returned at the start of the second.
The Canucks played without two of their top three scorers, Mark Messier and Alexander Mogilny, and one of the club's best defensemen, Adrian Aucoin.
Colorado put the Canucks away with a four-goal first period. Eric Messier's slap shot from the left point on an assist from Peter Forsberg at 3:27 and Ozolinsh's power-play goal at 8:05 gave the Avalanche a 2-0 lead and sent Snow to the bench.
Kevin Weekes replaced Snow, and 1:52 later was beaten by Hejduk on the first shot he faced. Ozolinsh's second goal of the night came 41 seconds later.
"It is more frustrating how we lost than the fact that we lost," Weekes said. "The frustrating thing for us was they dominated from the first three minutes on for the remainder of the game."
Vancouver managed only two shots in failing to convert on a 5-on-3 power play early in a scoreless second period.
Baron sent a wrist shot over Roy's left shoulder at 2:23 of the third period, but Ozolinsh countered with his third goal of the game at 6:27.
"There is no doubt that we will have our share of adversity and we got a little tonight with a couple of goals that went by that weren't great goals, but that wasn't the story of the game," said Crawford who coached the Quebec/Colorado franchise from 1994-95 through 1997-98. "The story was we didn't respond and we have to respond better than we did tonight."
NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL --- --- --- ----- VANCOUVER 0 0 2 2 COLORADO 4 0 1 5 FINAL GOAL SCORING: 1ST PRD: COL - ERIC MESSIER 2 (PETER FORSBERG, DAVID REID) 3:27 COL - (PP) SANDIS OZOLINSH 4 (PATRICK ROY) 8:05 COL - MILAN HEJDUK 17 (ALEX TANGUAY, ADAM FOOTE) 9:57 COL - SANDIS OZOLINSH 5 (STEPHANE YELLE, SHJON PODEIN) 10:38 2ND PRD: NONE 3RD PRD: VAN - MURRAY BARON 1 (HAROLD DRUKEN) 2:23 COL - SANDIS OZOLINSH 6 (UNASSISTED) 6:27 VAN - MARKUS NASLUND 9 (ANDREW CASSELS, HARRY YORK) 18:59 POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: VAN - 0 OF 4, COL - 1 OF 4. SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL --- --- --- ----- VAN 7 7 11 25 COL 11 7 3 21 GOALIES: VAN - GARTH SNOW, KEVIN WEEKES(8:05,1ST), GARTH SNOW(2ND) COL - PATRICK ROY OFFICIALS: REF - B MCCREARY, MURPHY LIN - SARTISON, SHARRERS