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Blake also scores in win over Caps

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, 1999.

"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 2-0.

"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 double-shifting."

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.

Game notes
Tanguay and Lang began the night tied for the scoring lead
with Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk with 34 points. ... Washington's
Brendan Witt left the game in the second period with an upper body
injury. ... The game had a brief delay when the glass behind the
Washington goal was broken by Colorado's Travis Brigley at 1:33 of
the first period. ... Colorado C Steve Konowalchuk played 12
seasons with the Capitals before an Oct. 10 trade brought him to
the Avalanche.