DENVER (AP) -- With David Aebischer playing so well, Philippe Sauve hasn't
had much of a chance to build any momentum.
He might have some now.
Sauve stopped 35 shots, Joe Sakic had a goal and three assists, and the
Colorado Avalanche stayed unbeaten against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-1
victory Saturday night.
"Sometimes you are not going to see him for a while," Avalanche coach Tony
Granato said. "When David is going well the way he has been, you might not see
Phil but once every three weeks. That is tough to do. Obviously, he adjusted to
that role and he played extremely well."
Sauve has played just twice since his first NHL win on Nov. 6. Part of the
reason was that Aebischer was playing great -- 8-1-2 in his past 11 games -- but
also because Sauve wasn't so great.
He allowed three goals in each of his last two starts and entered Saturday's
game with a 2.60 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage.
Sauve had plenty of reason -- and time -- to get down on himself, but he
didn't let it happen.
shots in the final two periods.
In the second period, Sauve stopped one shot and dived back to get his stick
out just in time to block Derrick Walser from just outside the crease.
Sauve was just as good in the third, when he made a sprawling save on
Walser's one-timer from just in front of the goal and gloved a hard shot by
Rick Nash late.
"I don't see a lot of ice time and whenever I do, I get real excited to
play," Sauve said. "I want to help the team out as much as I can."
His teammates returned the favor.
Sakic scored his ninth goal and has 11 points in six games. Derek Morris
added a goal and two assists. Milan Hejduk scored his 15th goal, and Teemu
Selanne and Andrei Nikolishin also scored to push Colorado's unbeaten streak to
five games (3-0-2).
But as good as the Avalanche have been lately, they've been even better
Colorado is 12-0-1 all-time against the Blue Jackets, including 7-0 at home,
and has scored five or more goals seven times against them.
Columbus coach Doug MacLean turned sarcastic when asked about the streak
that started with the Blue Jackets' first season in 2000.
"I don't know," MacLean said. "Sakic, Forsberg, Kariya, Selanne, Foote.
You need any more names? How many more do you need? Is that enough for you?"
Nash scored in his fifth straight game -- and his 10th goal in nine games --
but Columbus was miserable on special teams to remain the league's only winless
team on the road.
Columbus, 1-4-1 its last six games, allowed three power-play goals and was
0-for-6 with the man advantage to set a team record for longest road losing
"Obviously, there's a lot of urgency in our speeches and in our talk right
now about getting that first win under our belt and getting going here,"
MacLean said. "That's not the way it's going to happen."
The Avalanche didn't waste any time adding to Columbus' troubles, scoring
five minutes in on a give-and-go between Selanne and Sakic.
Selanne easily scored his eighth of the season after Sakic's quick one-touch
pass pulled Columbus goalie Marc Denis almost all the way out of the crease.
And the Avalanche didn't let up.
Sakic, playing NHL game No. 1,100, made it 2-0 on a power play with 5:31
left in the first, beating Denis stick side with a wrister while the Blue
Jackets were still setting up.
Hejduk added to it 49 seconds later, punching it in from the edge of the
crease after Morris' shot jumped Denis' stick.
"That's what we talked about before, trying to get off to a good start,"
Sakic said. "And we did."
Morris scored at 12:50 of the third, one-timing a pass from Alex Tanguay
with a two-man advantage. Nikolishin made it 5-1 just 35 seconds later on a
power play, beating Denis between the pads from a tough angle.
Nash, playing his 100th NHL game, extended his points streak to eight games
with a slick goal at 9:52 of the second period.
Nash took a pass from Andrew Cassels from behind the goal, dragged the puck
behind him to draw Sauve out, then quickly switched to the backhand for his
18th of the season. He only scored 17 in 74 games during his rookie season of