Colorado Avalanche left winger Cody McLeod, front left, redirects a shot at Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider, right, as defenseman Shane O\'Brien, back left, looks on in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/David Zalubowski
DENVER - Milan Hejduk loves to play against the Vancouver Canucks. The rest of his Colorado Avalanche teammates are enjoying it, too.
Hejduk added to his reputation as a Canucks killer with a goal and two assists, and he scored the decisive goal in the shootout to help the Avalanche beat Vancouver for the eighth straight time, 5-4 on Sunday.
In 57 career games against the Canucks, Hejduk has 34 goals, his highest goal total against any NHL team.
"There is not really a good explanation for it; I don't have one," Hejduk said. "I know the stats are good for me against this team, but we do play them a lot, being in the same division, so obviously I would score more goals against them than the others."
Wojtek Wolski, Marek Svatos and Hejduk scored for Colorado in the shootout, and Peter Budaj made 34 saves. Colorado is 5-1 in shootouts this season.
"Our shootout guys have been very good," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "Those guys are all talented."
Colorado defenceman Daniel Tjarnqvist forced overtime, scoring his second goal of the season with 2:48 left in regulation.
"He got a quick shot off," Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider said. "I'm sure it glanced off of somebody to just change it enough that instead of hitting me in the stomach it went under the armpit."
David Jones and Ryan Smyth also scored in regulation for Colorado, and Paul Stastny had three assists.
Steve Bernier had two goals for Vancouver, Daniel Sedin and Darcy Hordichuk also scored, and Kyle Wellwood connected in the shootout. The Canucks last win over Colorado was a 2-1 overtime victory Nov. 9, 2007.
"In my mind we should have won this game," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "I think we played well enough to win this game, but when you put two pucks in your own net by your own sticks it's a little more challenging."
Bernier gave the Canucks a 4-3 lead with 10:03 left in the third on a one-timer from the right circle. Earlier in the period, Hejduk tied it when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and flipped it past Schneider for his 11th goal of the season.
Hordichuk gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead just 2:17 into the game, and it held up until the second period when Jones tied with a great individual effort.
Jones skated out of the Colorado end and chipped the puck along the right boards into the Canucks' end. He skated by Shane O'Brien and, with the defenceman trying to check him off the play, Jones leaned over and slipped the puck past Schneider for his fourth goal of the season.
Smyth gave Colorado the lead with his ninth goal. Smyth took a pass from Hejduk as he skated into the Vancouver end and put a hard wrist shot under Schneider's right pad to give Colorado a 2-1 lead with 8:35 left in the second period.
Sedin and Bernier scored goals 2:04 apart late in the second period. Sedin knocked in his own rebound for his team-leading 12th goal of the season with 4:11 in the period, and Bernier scored a power-play goal to make it 3-2.
Notes: Before the game, the Avalanche had a ceremony remembering the attack on Pearl Harbor 67 years ago. ... Vancouver defenceman Sami Salo left the game in the first period with a groin injury.