DENVER - Joe Sakic is closing in on another franchise milestone.
Sakic had his 15th career hat trick to help the Colorado Avalanche beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Saturday night. He is one hat trick shy of tying Peter Stastny for the franchise record.
"I didn't realize it was 15," said Sakic, who now has 614 career goals. "Hopefully, there will be another one."
The 38-year-old team captain scored twice in the third period, helping the Avalanche pull away. He scored a power-play goal early in the third, and then added his fourth goal of the season with 9:22 left when he beat Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire with a shot from the right circle.
"He's a pretty good shooter, and he took the corner and the post," Leclaire said. "They get a lot of traffic out there with (Ryan) Smyth, and he's got a good shot."
Milan Hejduk had two goals and an assist, and Peter Budaj had 24 saves for Colorado, which rebounded from a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Friday.
"Tonight, finally we were able to put some pucks on the net and it was a totally different game," Hejduk said.
Sakic gave the Avalanche the early lead at the 6:07 mark of the opening period. Andrew Brunette, with a defenceman draped on him, skated around the Columbus net and put a shot on goal. The puck deflected off of Sakic's arm and past Leclaire.
"He had a great game tonight, and not just his production," Avalanche coach Joel Quennville said of Sakic. "I thought he had good energy, he played well all over the ice. It was his best game of the year."
Rostislav Klesla tied the game with a shot from just inside the blue-line that handcuffed Budaj at the 1:24 mark of the second period.
Colorado broke open a 1-all game early in the second period. Hejduk one-timed a pass from Smyth in front of the Blue Jackets net that Leclaire stopped. But Hejduk got his own rebound and beat Leclaire high to make it 2-1.
"Their power play, they got a lot of loose pucks and created a lot of momentum for themselves," Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They lost last night and were disappointed, and they played at a level of intensity that we had some people that were unable to keep that level or get up to that level."
Minutes later, Hejduk took a shot from the right circle to make it 3-1.
"We got on the board early and Milan got a couple of goals for us to make it 3-1," Sakic said. "Instead of hanging on, we pulled away."
Columbus forward Rick Nash nearly tied the game late in the first period, but he couldn't get control of the puck with an open left side of the net in front of him. Once he did corral the puck, his shot went off Budaj's helmet.
Late in the second period, Budaj got his right pad to the post just as Blue Jackets winger David Vyborny tried to stuff the puck in the net.
Both teams killed off 5-on-3 power plays in the first period.
Notes: Columbus had killed off 19 straight penalties before Hejduk's power-play goal in the second period. It was the 11th-longest such streak in franchise history. ... The Avalanche is now 22-1-1-1 against Columbus since the Blue Jackets joined the NHL in 2000. Sakic's last hat trick came March 3, 2004, against the Vancouver Canucks. Leclaire's shutout streak ended at 156:29. It's the longest in franchise history. The previous mark was 155:28 set by Fredrik Norrena from Dec. 2-9, 2006.