Full house watches Avs down Stars in preseason opener

DENVER (AP) -- It took Joe Sakic exactly 30 seconds to remind

Colorado Avalanche fans why they still love hockey despite the NHL

lockout that canceled an entire season.

Sakic scored two goals Saturday -- one in the game's first

half-minute and the second to give Colorado a 3-2 lead on a 5-on-3

power play late in the third -- in the Avalanche's 4-2 win against

the Dallas Stars in the preseason opener for both teams.

"It was great to get on the ice and play a meaningful game,"

Sakic said.

Colorado and Dallas traded power plays for most of the third

period before hooking penalties 50 seconds apart sent both Yared

Hagos and Jaroslav Svoboda to the penalty box. Sakic scored 14

seconds later.

Earlier in the period, Dallas also had a two-man advantage, but

failed to convert. Marek Svatos added an empty-net goal for the

final total.

For Colorado fans, nothing and everything has changed in the two

years since they last saw a preseason game.

Many have remained true to Colorado despite any hard feelings

about the lockout, nearly filling the Pepsi Center Saturday and

breaking a single-game ticket sales record earlier in the day.

"It was a full building, and it was nice to see such a

supportive group of fans out there today," Avs coach Joel

Quenneville said. "I thought from the outset the building was

electric, and scoring on the first shift was the way to start it


But many were left scratching their heads over who was on the

ice with Sakic and old favorites Rob Blake and Alex Tanguay.

"New players? I don't know their names," season ticket holder

John Schebler said.

Among those no longer on the ice for Colorado is the beloved

Peter Forsberg and defenseman Adam Foote, both of whom signed for

more money elsewhere last month after Colorado ran into salary cap


Forsberg's possible replacement, Pierre Turgeon, sat out the

game, but new defenseman Patrice Brisebois scored in the second

period during a power play for his first Avalanche goal.

"Brisebois is going to be useful in a number of areas, and the

power play is one of them," Quenneville said. "He has been in the

league a long time, and we know that offensively he can be


While Colorado played most of its veterans for the home crowd,

Dallas dressed just the minimum eight required, partly because the

team plays again Sunday at Edmonton.

One player not on the ice for the Avalanche, though, was recent

addition Brad May, who sat out after injuring his groin Friday

during a public team scrimmage.

May is best remembered in Denver as the Vancouver player who

said during the 2004 season that there should be a bounty put on

Avalanche forward Steve Moore after Moore's hit put Canucks captain

Markus Naslund out for three games. Soon after, Todd Bertuzzi hit

Moore during a game, breaking his neck and potentially ending his

hockey career.

May has said his comments were made in jest, but it remains to

be seen if Denver will warm to him. During Friday's scrimmage, the

home crowd booed him regularly.

Schebler said he was glad the Avalanche signed May.

"That's hockey. We've had players like him here in the past,"

Schebler said. "We need someone like May."

The Stars and Avalanche also showed how the league's emphasis on

calling penalties could change the game. The teams had 16 penalties

between them, including six in the third.

"It wasn't unexpected. Actually, I probably expected a few

more," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "It will take time to

break some habits."

Quenneville agreed, adding that other preseason games in the

league have had more than 20 penalties.

"I thought we were pretty good and smart about it and aware of

it," Quenneville said.