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Avalanche 3, Hurricanes 2

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Playing with a lead down the stretch was a nice change of pace for the Colorado Avalanche.

Struggling to keep pace after a surprising 0-4 start, Colorado won its first road game of the season Monday night, beating the Carolina Hurricanes and hot goaltender Arturs Irbe 3-2 behind Peter Forsberg's three-point game.

``The boys have been under lots of pressure lately, playing with a deficit all the time, it's not an easy thing,'' said rookie NHL coach Bob Hartley. ``We can feel that we're building momentum and all we need is a couple of good games together to really get back on track.''

Colorado is now 3-2-1 in its past six games, splitting its first two of a six-game, 11-day road trip - the club's longest in eight years.

When asked if he was among those feeling pressure, Hartley, who took over for Marc Crawford in June, nodded yes. Crawford won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and three straight Pacific Division titles prior to Hartley being named head coach.

``We're a team, we're a family and we all feel pressure,'' said Hartley. ``This business is all about pressure. You have to learn to deal with it on a daily basis.''

Forsberg got his first goal of the season after taking 32 shots on net in nine games without scoring, beating Irbe with 8:54 left. He also assisted on Colorado's first goal and on the eventual game-winner by Rene Corbet with 4:04 left.

``It was not an average guy having a great night, it was a great player taking an advantage of some opportunities,'' said Carolina coach Paul Maurice.

``It's always good when it's an important goal, too,'' said Forsberg, who had scored at least 25 goals in each of the last three seasons. ``Goals are scarce nowadays and you've got to get a good shot off it you're going to beat the goalie.''

Irbe, the NHL player of the month for October after posting a 0.76 goals against average, allowed Colorado's first shot of the game to slip under his pads and couldn't stop Forsberg's blast from the slot over his left shoulder.

``Colorado played against us like a desperate team, unfortunately I had to be the first one to let (Forsberg) get out of his slump,'' said Irbe.

Irbe had allowed one goal or less in six straight starts before giving up three against Colorado.

``Colorado played like a veteran club,'' said Carolina captain Keith Primeau. ``We've been able to outwork most other teams this year for the loose pucks but they wouldn't let us do it.''

It didn't take Colorado long to solve the hottest goaltender in the league, as Claude Lemieux blasted one between Irbe's legs 1:19 into the game.

Carolina had gone six straight games without allowing a first-period goal before Lemieux scored the 302nd goal of his career.

Kevin Dineen, the former Carolina captain, scored his first goal of the year three minutes later from the right circle after a nice pass from Kent Manderville to tie the score.

Nelson Emerson scored his second goal of the season with 2:32 left to pull Carolina within one, but the Hurricanes couldn't get the tying goal after pulling Irbe in the final minute.

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