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AVS RALLY TO TIE MAPLE LEAFS

Two of the NHL's best goalies went head-to-head, but a shootout ensued instead of a defensive battle.

Colorado's Patrick Roy, the NHL's career winningest goalie, allowed five goals on just 22 shots, but Curtis Joseph gave up five on 33 shots as the Avalanche tied the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-5, Saturday night.

"It was like the All-Star Game. You had some pretty good goalies there too," Joseph said. "It was a tough game because Colorado got the puck off so quick and they passed so well. I don't think you can ever feel comfortable playing a team that has that much talent."

Alex Tanguay and Adam Deadmarsh each scored twice for the Avalanche, which overcame three two-goal deficits.

"On the bench, you could sense that we could come back," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "We were creating good chances, and it was just a matter of bearing down on our chances and making them count, and that's what we did in the third period."

Yanic Perreault scored twice for the Maple Leafs, who have a five-game winless streak. Dmitri Yushkevich, Mats Sundin and Tomas Kaberle also scored for Toronto.

"It was a very entertaining game," Roy said. "There were a lot of chances. A shootout like that is good for the offense."

Chris Drury scored the tying goal for the Avalanche, which has just one win in seven games.

Williamsville's Jeff Farkas, who played at the Nichols School and with the Niagara Scenics, was recalled by Toronto from St. John's of the American Hockey League and played in his first NHL regular season game. He had appeared in three Toronto playoff games last spring. Farkas had 46 points in 56 games with St. John's.

Ax falls on Bobby Smith

PHOENIX -- Two days after Wayne Gretzky became the Phoenix Coyotes' managing partner, General Manager Bobby Smith was fired.

To replace Smith, Cliff Fletcher was signed to a long-term deal as executive vice president and general manager.

Fletcher, who spent the past two seasons as a senior adviser with the Tampa Bay Lightning, will report directly to Gretzky and will oversee the team's hockey operations.

"Bobby Smith worked very hard under difficult circumstances," Gretzky said.

"He did an excellent job, but at this point we felt that the organization needed to make a change."

The announcement came after Gretzky and developer Steve Ellman completed their $88 million deal to buy the team.

Nolan's suspension upheld

NEW YORK -- Owen Nolan must serve his full 11-game suspension after the San Jose Sharks' appeal was denied Saturday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman refused to reduce the ban Nolan received earlier this month for his hit on Grant Marshall of the Dallas Stars. Nolan, the Sharks' second-leading scorer, won't be eligible to return until San Jose's game in Ottawa on March 1.

The Sharks appealed the suspension at a 2 1/2 -hour hearing.

"After giving due consideration to the evidence and arguments presented to me on appeal of Mr. Nolan's suspension, I have concluded that the original determination regarding the length of Mr. Nolan's suspension was warranted and appropriate," Bettman said in a statement released by the league.

"Accordingly, Mr. Nolan will serve the full 11-game suspension."

Nolan was the NHL's sixth-leading scorer last season with 44 goals and 84 points. He has 18 goals and 40 points in 38 games this season.

Around the rinks

Jeff Halpern scored twice and Peter Bondra scored his 35th goal of the season as the Capitals extended their unbeaten streak to nine with a 6-3 victory over the Canadiens. Steve Konowalchuk had a goal and an assist for Washington, Chris Simon scored his 10th, and Ulf Dahlen tallied into an empty net as the Capitals finished a season-high six-game road trip 5-0-1. Olaf Kolzig stopped 17 shots for his 27th win. . . . Simon Gagne had two goals and an assist and Roman Cechmanek made 28 saves as the Flyers beat the Thrashers, 5-1. Ruslan Fedotenko and Chris Therien also scored for the Flyers, who have won four straight and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. . . . Alexei Kovalev's goal, 1:19 into overtime, gave the Penguins a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets. Martin Straka tallied three assists for Pittsburgh. . . . Petr Nedved scored three goals and had an assist to lead the Rangers to a 5-4 win over the Lightning.

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