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Rycroft's third-period goal earns Avalanche 3-2 decision over Jackets

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Rycroft's third-period goal earns Avalanche 3-2 decision over Jackets

The Canadian Press
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"What is it you Americans say?" quipped the Slovakian-born goalie. "It's not over until the lady, the fat lady sings." Budaj stopped 21 shots as Colorado survived a late scare to defeat the Blue Jackets 3-2 on Tuesday night. Budaj nearly blanked the Blue Jackets for the second time this season, but Rick Nash scored his 18th and 19th goals in the final two minutes for Columbus.

"The guys did a great job through two periods, only 12 shots on net," Budaj said. "At the end they scored two quick goals, but overall it was a big effort for us and a big two points."

Andrew Brunette and Paul Stastny extended point streaks with a goal each. Brunette has an 11-game point streak and Stastny a 13-game streak. Mark Rycroft added his fifth goal of the year.

Milan Hejduk had two assists for Colorado, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

"I thought we were a little bit more aware in all areas of the game," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "We were a little more patient, and I thought we still had great opportunities off the rush."

Columbus goaltender Fredrick Norrena made 20 saves. Norrena is 3-4-1 in his past eight games and winner of six of his past 10 decisions.

Columbus was 0-for-3 on the power play. The Blue Jackets' power play on the road ranks 28th of 30 teams.

"We didn't have a very good start to this one," Nash said. "Had we started the way we finished, it would have been a different outcome.

"We just ran out of time."

Columbus picked up the pressure early in the third period. Budaj made two saves through screens while killing a power play - including a glove save against Adam Foote's slapshot from the left point.

Budaj caught a break at 10:30 when Curtis Glencross hit the crossbar.

The Avalanche had to kill off a 5-on-3 short-handed situation at 12:54 of the period. Columbus managed only two shots in that stretch.

"I played with Budaj in junior so I know what he can do," Nash said. "He is good, but we didn't test him enough."

Rycroft scored at 17:51 to put the Avalanche up 3-0, but they couldn't contain Nash, who scored from close range in the last two minutes.

Colorado led 1-0 after one period, one where scoring chances were at a premium in the first period. Ian Laperriere hit the right post at 5:10 of the period, but Brunette didn't miss at 12:41 of the period.

With the Avalanche on its second power play, Norrena stopped a slapshot from the slot by John-Michael Liles. Brunette found the rebound and backhanded it past Norrena.

Columbus controlled play for much of the second period, but fell behind 2-0 on Stastny's 22nd goal.

Hejduk set up Stastny from behind the net and Stastny converted from between circles at 17:53.

"Guys like Hejduk just put the puck right on your stick and make it easy for you," Stastny said. "We had a couple of times where we had the puck in their zone for a while and didn't score."

Notes: Columbus goalie Brian Boucher arrived just before game time after being claimed off wavers from Chicago . . . Only Chicago (154) has scored fewer goals than the Blue Jackets (158) . . . Colorado won the season series 3-1 . . . Avalanche D Karlis Skrastins will be out for up to 10 days with a sprained knee . . . D Jeff Finger got his first career assist.

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Rycroft's third-period goal earns Avalanche 3-2 decision over Jackets