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Johnson scores on former team as Avs knock off Blues

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Associated Press
2/23/2011 12:41:20 AM
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ST. LOUIS -- Erik Johnson said he would make the St. Louis Blues regret trading him to Colorado.

It took him just three days to back up those words.

Johnson scored the go-ahead goal against St. Louis, which traded him Saturday, and the Colorado Avalanche broke a 10-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory against the Blues on Tuesday night.

Johnson, who was traded to Colorado as part of a four-player trade, scored with 5:06 left to break a 2-2 tie.

"Such a great feeling -- a unique experience," Johnson said. "I don't think it can get any better than this."

Paul Stastny, Milan Hedjuk and David Jones also scored for Colorado.

Peter Budaj made 42 saves for his fifth consecutive win over St. Louis. The Avalanche earned their seventh consecutive win over the Blues.

Johnson scored his sixth goal of the season and first for Colorado in his second game in an Avalanche uniform.

He reiterated after the game he was not bitter about the trade. But he is intent on showing the Blues they made a mistake.

"You never want to leave a place where you're comfortable," Johnson said. "Such is life. That's the way the business is.

"I thank everybody in St. Louis that helped me. But this is a great opportunity for me."

Johnson, the No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft, received a loud ovation from the sellout crowd when his name was announced as a starter prior to the game.

In the third, he picked up a loose puck along the boards and zipped a shot past goalie Ty Conklin.

"I just wanted to make sure I didn't celebrate at the wrong bench," Johnson kidded. "I want to get to the right bench to make the fist pumps.

"It's a very wonderful feeling to score against your old team in your old building."

Colorado's Jay McClement, who was also part of the Saturday trade, was happy for Johnson.

"I haven't seen him that excited in a long time," McClement said. "He was pretty pumped.

"I'm happy. It's a pretty awesome time for him."

The goal gave the Avalanche the lead for good. Stastny followed the tally by scoring with 2:38 left to push the lead to 4-2. Andy McDonald brought the Blues to within 4-3 with his 14th goal 22 seconds later.

But Budaj made two key saves in the final minute to improve to 13-12-4.

The Avalanche's 10-game losing streak (0-9-1) was the longest since the franchise moved from Quebec prior to the 1995-96 season.

"I think we can all breathe again," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "I almost forgot how it feels to win."

Colorado took a 2-0 lead with two goals in the first 10:04 of the first. Jones tipped in a pass from Stastny for his career-best 20th goal of the season. Hedjuk followed with a team-high eighth power-play goal and 18th overall. Hedjuk has scored at least 20 goals in each of the past 10 seasons.

St. Louis tied the game 2-2 on a power-play goal by newly acquired Chris Stewart late in the second.

Patrik Berglund got St. Louis on the board late in the first with his 16th goal of the season. Berglund extended his point-streak to a career-high seven games.

"We had some decent opportunities in the third period," St. Louis coach Davis Payne said. "Clearly (we) were not very good in the execution department."

Stewart, who has three goals in three games with the Blues, felt his new club deserved a better fate.

"I didn't think they outplayed us," he said. "I thought we beat ourselves at times."

NOTES -- Matt Duchene, Colorado's leading scorer with 21 goals, returned to the lineup after missing two games due to a hand injury. He had two shots on goal in 18:19 ... The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 1, but was postponed due to a winter storm. ... McDonald played in his 600th NHL game. ... The Blues have scored at least one power-play goal in their past six games, a season high.

Erik Johnson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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