Colorado 5, Vancouver 3

Dec. 23, 2002 at 11:58 PM
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DENVER, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Rob Blake scored two goals and set up another and fellow defenseman Derek Morris added a power-play goal and two assists Monday night as the Colorado Avalanche remained unbeaten under new Coach Tony Granato with a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Critics noted Granato's lack of coaching experience when he was promoted to replace fired Bob Hartley on Wednesday. But Colorado has won three straight under Granato and heads into the holiday break tied for third place in the NHL's Northwest Division.

Blake set up Morris' power-play tally four minutes into the game to put the Avalanche in front for good. The former Norris Trophy winner made it 2-0 with 51 seconds left in the opening period and scored again on the power play just over seven minutes into the second.

Milan Hejduk and Dean McAmmond had the other goals for Colorado, which did not win more than two in a row under Hartley this season.

Markus Naslund scored his league-leading 23rd goal and added an assist, but the Canucks failed in a bid for their third straight win and fell to 2-2-0 against the Avalanche this season.

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