DENVER (AP) -- Andrei Nikolishin empathizes with his former Washington
Capitals teammates, not enough to spare them another loss.
Nikolishin scored against Washington, and Rob Blake had a goal and an assist
to help the Colorado Avalanche stretch their unbeaten streak to six games with
a 4-1 victory over the Capitals on Monday night.
"I feel sorry a little bit for the guys who play against me like Olie
Kolzig and the six, seven guys left," said Nikolishin, whose goal gave
Colorado a 3-1 lead. "Scoring the third goal was big and the game was over."
Teemu Selanne and Alex Tanguay had a goal each, and Joe Sakic had three
assists for Colorado -- 4-0-2 in its last six games. David Aebischer stopped 22
shots -- 12 in the third period -- for the Avalanche, who beat Washington for the
first time since Oct. 17, 2000.
Sergei Gonchar scored for Washington, which lost its third straight and fell
to (8-18-1-1). The Capitals hadn't lost a road game to Colorado since March 26,
"Frankly, we deserved a better fate," Washington coach Bruce Cassidy said.
"I thought we played better at the end of the second period and in the third
period and found a way to lose, again."
Robert Lang was denied a scoring chance by Aebischer from the lower right
circle and former Avalanche player Brian Willsie missed an open net on a
rebound before Selanne and Blake put Colorado ahead 2-0 in the first period.
Kolzig stopped Blake's slap shot from the right point, but Selanne put the
rebound in from just outside the crease at 5:44. Positioned in the lower left
circle, Blake converted a cross-ice pass from Milan Hejduk at 11:13 to make it
"Teemu made a great play on the first goal coming out of the corner hard,"
Blake said. "As for my goal, Milan does a great job of landing the puck where
you want it."
Aebischer caught a break when Lang hit the right post at 11:40. Sakic also
stopped a breakaway by Jeff Halpern by tripping him at the Capitals blue line.
Chris McAllister's double roughing penalty and a high-sticking call on Alex
Tanguay gave Washington a two-man advantage that spanned the second and third
periods. Gonchar scored at 1:04 of the third with a blast over Aebisher's glove
from the right point.
Nikolishin's scored on a backhander with 2:03 left and Tanguay added an
empty-net goal with 59 seconds remaining to seal it.
"I think he has been better than expected," Avalanche coach Tony Granato
said of Nikolishin. "He is playing more minutes, and sometimes
Nikolishin, who played with Washington from 1996-2002, had some unfinished
business with several Capitals.
"We'll go to dinner and talk about it," he said.