Sakic Powers Avs Past Rangers
Colorado has won six straight against the Rangers since Nov. 20, 2001, and is 9-1 in the past 10 meetings.
Sakic, who had a 10-game point streak stopped Saturday night in Colorado's 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders, broke open a scoreless game with a power-play goal at 13:52. While that was being announced, Sakic was hooked by Martin Straka as he came in alone and was awarded his fifth career penalty shot.
He streaked down the middle and squeezed a shot between Kevin Weekes' pads to improve to 5-for-5 and push the Avalanche's lead to 2-0 on just their 11th shot. The spurt gave the 36-year-old captain eight goals in 12 games and his second multiple-goal effort of the season.
The Avalanche also reversed two trends. They had been 4-0 in the first of back-to-back games and winless in the second half.
New York has dropped two straight, both at home, for the first time since Nov. 15-17. It is the Rangers' first losing streak of the season at Madison Square Garden.
Ryan Hollweg, who fought Ian Laperriere 37 seconds after the opening faceoff, cut the Rangers' deficit in half when he scored his second career goal with 19.4 seconds left in the second period. Hollweg took three whacks at the right post before putting a rebound of Jaromir Jagr's shot past rookie goalie Vitaly Kolesnik.
It was Jagr's 800th assist.
Kolesnik earned his first on Sakic's first goal. The goalie made a pass out to defenseman John-Michael Liles, who moved the puck from the neutral zone onto Sakic's stick as he cut into the center of the Rangers' zone. Sakic had a step on his pursuers and ripped a rising shot past Weekes' glove.
The Avalanche weren't generating much offense on their own but were helped by the Rangers, who gave them five straight advantages -- including Sakic's penalty shot -- in an 11-minute span of the second period. New York only had one power play through two frames.
That helped Kolesnik, who made 29 saves, win for the third time in five starts since being recalled from the AHL on Dec. 6. He made four straight starts before sitting out Saturday. He was sharp in the third period when the Rangers had two power plays and pushed for the tying goal.
Weekes stopped 15 shots in just his second appearance in nine games and first at home since beating Carolina on Nov. 19. His four-game winning streak ended.
Rangers RW Petr Prucha had his team-rookie record six-game goal streak snapped. ... With 556 goals, Sakic is tied with John Bucyk for 19th place on the NHL list -- four behind Jagr. Sakic also is 12th with 1,437 points. ... Colorado has scored an NHL-best 46 goals in the first period but didn't record any in back-to-back games against the Islanders and Rangers. The Avalanche had opening-period goals in 10 straight games before Saturday. ... Outside of the early fight, the opening 20 minutes were penalty free. ... Jon Klemm holds the Avalanche record for fastest two goals when he scored 9 seconds apart against Calgary on Oct. 17, 1997.