Veteran center Joe Sakic tries to reach another milestone in his storied career as he leads the Colorado Avalanche into their game Wednesday against the Washington Capitals at the Pepsi Center.
The 37-year-old Sakic is one point shy of becoming just the 11th player in NHL history with 1,500 in his career. He picked up a pair of assists in Colorado's 6-1 rout of the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, and has three goals and four assists in a five-game points streak.
A two-time Stanley Cup winner as well as a Conn Smythe and Hart Trophy winner, Sakic has been the face of the franchise since its arrival in Denver from Quebec in 1995. He is 17th on the NHL's all-time list with 578 goals and 15th on the assist list with 921.
Sakic recorded his assists Monday on a first-period goal by John-Michael Liles and a late second-period score by Andrew Brunette that capped a five-goal outburst for the Avalanche (4-3-2), who have won three of their last four games. Colorado netted three power-play goals in the win, including two in a 67-second span early in the second period to take control of the game.
"I think we outplayed them and outchanced them," said Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj, who made 27 saves in the victory. "The first 5-on-3 power play we had, we scored one goal and then we scored another goal and I think that was the back-breaker for them."
Sakic has 13 goals and 28 points in 33 lifetime games against the Capitals, but the teams have not played since Dec. 8, 2004, when he registered three assists in a 4-1 victory.
While Sakic continues his steady production, the Avalanche have a burgeoning line with veteran Milan Hejduk flanked by youngsters Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski. Hejduk scored twice in the five-goal second period, and the trio combined for eight points.
"I feel much younger with these guys," joked Hejduk. "They are 20 years old and I am 10 years older. Both are great hockey players, and it is pretty fun to play with them."
The Capitals (2-2-3) have dropped consecutive games, including a 6-4 defeat Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Alexander Semin continued his fast start with a goal and an assist, but spotty play in the second period resulted in Washington allowing three goals that created a deficit too large to overcome.
"We had too many turnovers and they're an offensive team with a lot of firepower," Capitals center Brian Sutherby said. "We turned a few too many pucks over and they were all over our net."
Semin has eight goals, two shy of his 52-game total as a rookie in the 2003-04 season, and has scored a point in all seven games. Alexander Ovechkin netted a goal for the second straight game and has totaled seven points in his last five contests.
Washington has two wins and a tie in its last four games at Colorado.