Samuelsson hat-trick lifts Canucks over Avalanche

Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:26am EST
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DENVER (Reuters) - Mikael Samuelsson's hat-trick inspired a stirring fightback for the Vancouver Canucks in a 6-4 victory over Northwest Division rivals the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

The Canucks trailed 3-0 in the second before Samuelsson tallied three times in 12 minutes to pull the visitors to within 4-3 by the start of the final period after Peter Mueller had added a fourth goal for the Avalanche.

Alexandre Burrows scored from a wrist shot at 8:04 in the third to tie the game before Jannik Hansen notched the go-ahead goal with 2:08 remaining and Daniel Sedin capped the scoring as Vancouver closed the contest with five unanswered goals.

"We wish we didn't have to come back like this. It takes a lot of energy out of you, that's for sure," Samuelsson told reporters. "At the same time, we play for 60 minutes and that's a good thing. We know we can do it."

The Canucks (41-23-2) extended their division lead to four points with a fourth straight triumph over Colorado (37-23-6).

The Avalanche eased to a three-goal lead in the first on two scores from Matt Duchene and another by Chris Stewart, but Colorado struggled to contain their opponents late on and have lost three of five since returning from the Olympic break.

"It was a good first period, but after that mental lapses hurt us," Avalanche center Paul Stastny said.

"It's hard to take and we have to learn from it, and we have to learn fast because we have one day of practice and we get right back at it."

Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson started in his team-record 21st straight game and had 26 saves but allowed the key goals in the last two periods.   Continued...

<p>Vancouver Canucks winger Mikael Samuelsson (26) scores past Colorado Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson (C) and winger Chris Stewart during the second period of their NHL game in Denver March 9, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>