Wolski scores two as as Avalanche beat Sharks

Wojtek Wolski scored two goals and Craig Anderson stopped 38 shots, lifting Colorado to a season-opening 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night after the Avalanche retired Joe Sakic’s No. 19.

Avalanche 5 Sharks 2

DENVER — Wojtek Wolski scored two goals and Craig Anderson stopped 38 shots, lifting Colorado to a season-opening 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night after the Avalanche retired Joe Sakic’s No. 19.

Darcy Tucker, Cody McLeod and John-Michael Liles also scored, making a winner out of new Avalanche coach Joe Sacco.

Patrick Marleau had two goals for San Jose, which dropped to 0-5-2 in season openers on the road.

Evgeni Nabokov allowed all five goals on 20 shots. He remains one victory shy of becoming the 38th goalie in NHL history to win 250 games.

The Avalanche are starting their 14th season in Denver, and first without their longtime captain Sakic. His sweater was raised to the Pepsi Center rafters in a ceremony before the game. Sakic’s number is the third retired since the Avalanche relocated from Quebec in 1995, joining Patrick Roy (33) and Ray Bourque (77).

While Sakic was the face of the franchise for nearly two decades, the team may be uncovering two more in 18-year-old rookies Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly.

They both made their debuts Thursday, each earning an assist. It is the first time a team has had two 18-year-old players in a season-opening lineup since the Winnipeg Jets played Shane Doan and Jason Doig in 1995-96.

Duchene, taken with the third overall pick in the June draft, and O’Reilly, a second-round pick, logged a lot of action. Duchene brought the crowd to its feet with several slick moves, but couldn’t score on Nabokov.

Duchene grew up a big Sakic fan, with posters adorning his walls. He said it was going to be a night to remember with his first NHL game falling on the night Sakic was honoured.

Sakic retired in July after a 20-year career. He leaves the game among the NHL’s career scoring leaders, winding up eighth in points (1,641), 11th in assists (1,016) and 14th in goals (625). He also guided the team to two Stanley Cup titles and won league MVP honours in 2001.

The Avalanche are coming off a season in which they finished last in the Western Conference for the first time since the team moved to Colorado. They made sweeping changes, brining in a new general manager in Greg Sherman and hiring Sacco, who had been with Lake Erie of the American Hockey League for the last two seasons.

Sacco pledged an uptempo style, and that is how the Avalanche played. Colorado had nine players record assists, including two by Paul Stastny.

Just Posted

Schizophrenia a misunderstood illness, an Alberta expert says

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta campaign kickoff features TSN’s Michael Landsberg in Central Alberta

WATCH: Collecting coats and donations from drivers in Red Deer

Central Albertans made donations to keep children warm and neighbourhoods safe from… Continue reading

PHOTO: Fall Harvest Festival in Red Deer’s West Park

The West Park Community Association hosted the Fall Harvest Festival near West… Continue reading

Man dies in Hwy 2 collision near Ponoka

A 46-year-old man is dead following a three-vehicle collision on Hwy 2… Continue reading

Canyon Ski Resort aiming to open Nov. 10

The finishing touches are being put on Canyon Ski Resort trails just… Continue reading

WATCH: Blackfalds Fire teaches families about fire safety

An open house was held Saturday in support of Fire Prevention Week

Five things about what’s legal and what’s not in Canada’s new pot law

OTTAWA — Canada’s new law legalizing recreational cannabis goes into force on… Continue reading

4 men killed in shooting at child’s birthday party in Texas

DALLAS — An argument at a toddler’s birthday party in South Texas… Continue reading

German bus crashes on Swiss highway, 1 dead and 14 injured

BERLIN — A German bus crashed into a metal post on a… Continue reading

4 days after storm, large swath of Panhandle suffering

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped… Continue reading

Immigrants face hurdles to prove abuse by US agents

HOUSTON — Within hours of being booked at a Border Patrol station… Continue reading

Unicorns and pipelines: Notley and enviro-activist square off on Trans Mountain

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, with her arch pipeline foe sitting… Continue reading

A year into #MeToo, survivors’ stories resonate online and off: experts

Jenny Wright remembers scrolling through her social media feed a year ago… Continue reading

Emergency buzzer had been disabled in young man’s prison death: report

HALIFAX — An emergency intercom in the jail unit of a young… Continue reading

Most Read