DENVER – Milan Hejduk scored 11 seconds into the game and Dan Hinote finally got his first goal of the season Sunday night to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

After the opening faceoff, Hejduk streaked toward the Vancouver goal and took a nice feed from Alex Tanguay to beat Alex Auld for the second-fastest goal in franchise history.

Andrew Brunette scored at 4:02 to make it 2-0, and the Avs got two more goals in the first period, including one that bounced in off Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund after Auld deflected Joe Sakic’s shot into the air.

That one compelled Canucks coach Marc Crawford to burn the team’s timeout 81/2 minutes in, although the break didn’t do much to sharpen things up for Vancouver.

Late in the first, after killing off a 5-on-3 power play, Canucks center Brendan Morrison lumbered from the penalty box to the bench to make way for Anson Carter. The whole thing went slowly, though, and by the time Carter reached the ice, Marek Svatos was skating in unhindered. Carter hooked Svatos, but couldn’t prevent the goal and wound up replacing Morrison in the penalty box, to boot.

The Canucks pulled within 4-2 midway through the third, but Antti Laaksonen ended any thoughts of a comeback when he picked off Auld’s long pass from the crease and fed to Hinote, who scored short-handed for his first goal of a season in which he has missed about half the games with injuries.

Every time he touched the puck, Bertuzzi was booed by Avalanche fans still bitter about the cheap shot the Canucks forward put on Colorado forward Steve Moore that broke Moore’s neck in a 2004 game in Vancouver. Moore has not returned to hockey since the hit.

But this was nothing like last month, when Bertuzzi made his first appearance in Denver since the incident and was booed mercilessly and mocked by fans wearing jail stripes and neck braces.

Maybe most notably, it was the third time in three games in Denver this season that Bertuzzi, the team’s second-leading scorer, has been little factor for the Canucks. He had an assist Sunday to bring his total to two assists over the three games, all losses by a combined score of 16-7 – hardly a representative effort from the Northwest Division leaders.

Morrison and Bryan Allen scored for Vancouver, although the Canucks never really got to goalie David Aebischer.

Aebischer, in jeopardy of losing his starting job a week ago, made 38 saves. It was his second straight solid outing, this coming after a 35-save game in a 5-0 win over Columbus on Friday.

Auld, who has been starting for Vancouver since Dan Cloutier hurt his knee last week, made 30 saves and lost his second straight, a night after a 2-1 setback in Phoenix.

Notes: Colorado’s record for fastest goal to start a game is 9 seconds, done March 24, 2001, against Boston. … The Avs called up C Brad Richardson to replace Steve Konowalchuk, who had wrist surgery that will end his season.

AP-ES-11-27-05 2340EST

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