DENVER - Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic broke out of his goalscoring slump Tuesday night, and in so doing passed a legend and sparked his team to a 7-4 victory over the Northwest Division-leading Calgary Flames.
In front of 18,007 at the Pepsi Center, Sakic, who had not scored in Colorado’s 10 previous games, found the net twice. “I've been in these (slumps) before, and that's one of the good things about being around so long,” said Sakic, who is playing in his 17th NHL season. “You know you’re going to get out of it.” Both of Sakic’s goals came on the powerplay — an area in which the Avalanche had struggled in losing its previous two games — and during a wild second period. Colorado scored five goals in the second, the most it has scored in any period this season. With his goals, the 560th and 561st of his career, Sakic also moved ahead of Guy Lafleur into 18th place on the all-time goal scoring list. It was a spe- cial mark for Sakic, who played with Lafleur for Quebec during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons – Sakic’s first two in the NHL and Lafleur’s final two. “I was fortunate enough to room with (Lafleur) and learn a lot from him for a couple years in Quebec,” said Sakic, who also assist- ed on a goal to tie Dale Hawerchuk for 17th place all-time with 891 helpers. “It was something I’ll always cherish.” The Avalanche, meanwhile, can cherish a victory that snapped a two-game losing skid and moved them within four points of the division lead. Sakic scored his first goal 23 seconds into the second period, stuffing home the rebound of an Alex Tanguay shot to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead. His next goal, which put Colorado up 3-2, was set up by exquisite puck movement. Tanguay worked a give-and-go with Marek Svatos and then fed Sakic, who was perched just to the right of the Flames’ goal. Later in the second, John-Michael Liles, Antti Laaksonen and Svatos all scored in a span of 5 minutes 55 seconds to give the Avalanche a 6-2 advantage. Liles's goal came off Sakic's assist, and Laaksonen’s came with the Avalanche shorthanded, meaning Colorado scored as many times as Calgary did with the Flames on the power-play. A late rumble in front of the Colorado goal induced Calgary goalie Philippe Sauve to skate the length of the ice to challenge Avalanche goalie David Aebischer. Sauve once was Aebischer’s backup. Neither landed a good punches, but Sauve was hit with 14 minutes in penalties, including two minutes each for leaving the crease and instigating. According to the NHL’s new rules, an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of a game results in a one-game suspension for the player and a $10,000 fine for his coach, in this case Darryl Sutter. NEXT Colorado (28-19-3) vs. Dallas (31-15-2), 7 p.m. Friday, ALT, 740/950 AM