Streaking Sakic takes Aalanche to top of NHL

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The Independent Online

Joe Sakic's scoring streak lifted the Colorado Avalanche straight to first place in the Northwest Division.

Sakic scored three goals, including the 400th of his NHL career, to lead Colorado over the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 Thursday night.

"It was a huge win for us, and it puts us two points ahead of Edmonton, and we're all excited about the race," Sakic said. "It's going to be fun down the stretch."

Colorado has 82 points with seven regular-season games remaining. Edmonton, which did not play, has 80 points with eight games left.

On Feb. 29, the Oilers beat the Avalanche 3-1 and held a six-point division lead. But that game was a catalyst for Colorado's resurgence and Sakic's scoring spurt. Sakic has an 11-game scoring streak - a season-high run that includes 15 goals, seven assists and two hat tricks. During his streak, the Avalanche are 7-3-1.

In other NHL games, Florida beat Boston 3-1; Buffalo defeated Calgary 4-2; Ottawa edged Toronto 3-2; Los Angeles got past Philadelphia 3-2 in overtime; Washington topped the New York Rangers 4-1; and Detroit beat Nashville 6-3.

Peter Forsberg had a goal and Adam Deadmarsh had two assists as Colorado sent the slumping Coyotes to their fifth consecutive loss and eighth in 10 games.

The Coyotes, who were tied with Dallas for the NHL's best record at the All-Star break, would fall to eighth in the Western Conference if they lose at San Jose tonight.

Sakic had two power-play goals early in the first period, and the first extended his season-high scoring streak. It came 2:36 into the game and 37 seconds into a four-minute power play.

Forty-six seconds later, Sakic scored his 25th of the season, and 400th since he began his NHL career in 1988.

"It's a great milestone, but I'm not really looking at milestones right now," Sakic, 30, said. "I like to think I still have a few good years left. Any time you think you've got one or two more years left, you start thinking about milestones and shoot for some goals, but right now, it's too early."

Sakic completed his ninth career hat trick - and second this month - with 9:48 left. The goal gave him a franchise-record 1,049 points, one more than Peter Stastny.

"We capitalized at the right time," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "The power play was awesome, and Joe's third goal put them behind the 8-ball."

Shane Doan and Trevor Letowski scored for the Coyotes.

Panthers 3, Bruins 1 Mark Parrish and Cam Stewart scored 2:51 apart in the third period as Florida overcame a sluggish start and won at Boston. The game was scoreless through two periods, and Boston held NHL goal-scoring leader Pavel Bure without a shot until five minutes remained in the second. Boston's Cameron Mann and Parrish traded goals in the first six minutes of the third, and Stewart got the game-winner at 8:48 of the period. Bure added an empty-netter, his 52nd goal, with 1:02 to play.

Sabres 4, Flames 2 Jay McKee and Miroslav Satan scored in the final 2:08 to lift Buffalo into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Satan, who ended a 13-game goal drought, had two goals, while Geoff Sanderson also scored for the Sabres, who moved one point ahead of the idle Montreal Canadiens for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Marc Bureau and rookie Jeff Cowan scored for visiting Calgary, which was without three regulars, including Jarome Iginla.

Senators 3, Maple Leafs 2 Radek Bonk scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period to lead Ottawa over Toronto. Rob Zamuner and Andreas Dackell also scored for the Senators, who trail the Maple Leafs by three points in the Northeast Division. Yanic Perreault and Nik Antropov each had a goal and an assist for visiting Toronto.

Kings 3, Flyers 2, OT Jozef Stumpel scored the tying goal late in the third period and had the game-winner in overtime as Los Angeles won at Philadelphia. Stumpel, who tipped in Craig Johnson's shot from the front of the net to tie it 2-2 with 2:15 left in regulation, helped the Kings snap a four-game winless string. His wrist shot from high in the slot trickled between the pads of Flyers' goalie Brian Boucher at 1:20 of overtime for the game-winner.

Capitals 4, Rangers 1 Jeff Halpern scored two goals, and Olaf Kolzig made 27 saves to lead Washington's victory at New York. Adam Oates had a goal to extend his scoring streak to eight games, and Chris Simon also scored for the Capitals, who are 10-2-1 in their last 13. Mike York scored for the Rangers, 1-4-1 in their last six.

Red Wings 6, Predators 3 Sergei Fedorov had a goal and two assists, and Detroit scored four times in the second period to win at Nashville. Stacy Roest, Mathieu Dandenault, Larry Murphy, Tomas Holmstrom and Brent Gilchrist also scored for Detroit, which won for just the second time in five games. Nashville fell to 13-21-3 at home - the worst home winning percentage in the Western Conference.