Dallas Stars center Mike Modano (9) and Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles (4) chase the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver, Saturday, March 8, 2008. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Jack Dempsey)
DENVER - Peter Forsberg could not believe it took him this long to notch a point.
He cautioned that it might take time to sharpen his skills, but really didn't think that was true. So two games without a point felt like an eternity.
He's feeling a little more at ease now. Forsberg posted his first two points since rejoining the Avalanche, Andrew Brunette had a goal and an assist, and Colorado won its sixth straight by beating the stumbling Dallas Stars 3-1 on Saturday.
"It's very tough coming in here this late in a season, so it's good to get a couple of points," said Forsberg, who signed a one-year deal Feb. 25.
All it took was a line change to get him going. Colorado coach Joel Quenneville paired him with Paul Stastny and Brunette in the third period, and the chemistry was instant.
Forsberg's pinpoint pass from near the goal mouth to Brunette set up the winning goal midway through the final period. Forsberg also had another crisp pass that led to Scott Hannan's tying goal nearly three minutes earlier.
"He's one of those rare players that can buy time with the puck," Brunette said. "They seem like they're never rushed and they always find the open man. It's a lot more fun to play with him than against him."
Jose Theodore continued his torrid play, stopping 25 shots for his sixth consecutive win. It is his best run since late in the 2002 season when he captured the Hart Trophy.
He even turned back his nemesis, improving to 2-8-1 with two ties against the Stars. Theodore was pulled in his last start against Dallas on Nov. 16 after allowing five goals.
"This win is really huge," Theodore said. "It's huge for our confidence."
Quenneville is now faced with a difficult dilemma - start Theodore again when the teams meet Sunday night in Dallas or give him a breather.
"We don't know yet for sure, but it's a good idea (to start him)," Quenneville said.
The Stars have dropped three in a row after winning four straight.
"We're kidding ourselves if we think we are going to play deep in the playoffs doing the things we are doing right now," Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said. "These are good games for us, we just need to learn how to win these types of games and close them out. I don't think we are going to get an easy game the rest of the year. We need to get our game going quick."
Morrow momentarily went into the locker room early in the third period when his head slammed into the glass partition between the benches on a hit by Avalanche defenceman Jeff Finger, who was called for interference.
Ryan Smyth was injured on a similar play against the Los Angeles Kings on March 1 when he was slammed into the partition near the bench. Smyth has missed three games with a concussion and slightly separated shoulder.
Morrow said he was most concerned about his neck.
"I've had problems with that in the past," said Morrow, who returned soon after the collision. "I felt numbness in my legs, and I wanted to make sure that wasn't an issue."
The Avalanche killed off the penalty on Finger and then scored all three of their goals, including Stastny's empty-netter with three seconds left to seal the win.
The collision halted the Stars' momentum, who led 1-0 entering the final period.
"We just were too tentative to play the game," said Marty Turco, who had 25 saves. "You can't be like that; you know that the Avs are going to pour it on."
The Avalanche have been doing that in March over the past two seasons. They're 15-1-2 in the month spanning two seasons.
"We're playing well," forward Ian Laperriere said.
Laperriere cast a glance at the locker next to him, belonging to Forsberg, and grinned.
"The guy next to me, No. 21, played a hell of a game," he said.
Forsberg was just happy to contribute. Two games with no points and just four shots on goal had him feeling a little uneasy.
"It's good to get a couple of points and not think about that too much," Forsberg said.
Notes: The Avalanche activated F Cody McCormick from the injured list. McCormick missed 12 games due to a bruised chest. ... Avalanche D Adam Foote sat out with a hip injury, but could be back Sunday. ... Antti Miettinen's 14th goal of the season ended the Stars' 0-for-11 skid on the power play. ... Forsberg played in his 700th career NHL game. ... The Avalanche's six-game winning streak is their longest in more than two years.