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Avalanche cruises to 6-1 win over Kings

From the Associated Press

Milan Hejduk struggled to score goals a year ago during an injury-plagued season. He’s determined not to let that happen again, even if it means using his head to put the puck in the net.

“I feel comfortable,” said Hejduk, who played in 74 games in 2005-06 while dealing with a variety of nagging injuries. “I have a lot of energy with these guys and it feels great.”

Hejduk had two goals, one that deflected off his jaw, and added an assist as the Colorado Avalanche scored five second-period goals Monday night to cruise to a 6-1 victory over the Kings.

“You’re seeing what Milan can do when he’s healthy,” Colorado Coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s skating freer and quicker.”

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Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists, and John-Michael Liles and Marek Svatos each added a goal and assist. Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for Colorado, which also got a goal from Andrew Brunette in winning for the third time in four games.

Derek Armstrong had his first goal of the season for the Kings, 1-4-2 in their last seven games. Dan Cloutier stopped 26 of 32 shots and is 8-8-2 in his career against Colorado.

“We allowed too many chances and too many power plays to a team that can capitalize on them,” Kings Coach Marc Crawford said, “probably a result of playing a second game in two nights.”

The Kings had lost to the Ducks in a shootout Sunday.

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On Monday night, it was the second period that did them in, when they were outshot, 17-9, and gave up five goals.

Hejduk was credited with his second goal in the period when Patrice Brisbois’ shot deflected off Stastny’s stick and Hejduk’s face past Cloutier.

“I’ve never scored a goal like that before, that would be my first in my whole life,” Hejduk said. “I guess I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Onetime Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake was booed mildly throughout the game. Blake played four-plus seasons for Colorado.

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