Avalanche 4, Panthers 2
MIAMI (AP) _ Joe Sakic had a goal and two assists as the Colorado Avalanche beat Florida 4-2 on Saturday night, winning for the seventh time in their last eight games.
The Panthers, last in the Eastern Conference and tied with Columbus for the fewest points (20) in the league, are winless in their last seven games.
Milan Hejduk, Peter Forsberg and Chris Drury also scored for Colorado, which leads the league with 45 points. Drury added an empty-netter as time expired.
After hitting the cross bar and the post in a scoreless first period, Colorado got a pair of goals in the second.
Hejduk gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead with a soft goal against Roberto Luongo. Hejduk, scoring his 14th goal of the season, spun in the crease and flipped a shot that bounced off the back of Panthers defender Robert Svehla and trickled past Luongo.
Sakic’s 16th goal made it 2-0 about seven minutes later. Hejduk found Sakic streaking across the blue line, and Sakic _ the league’s third-leading scorer _ beat Luongo from just inside the right circle. Sakic has 43 points.
The Panthers cut the lead in half with a power-play goal in the second. Greg Adams’ backhander from the crease beat Patrick Roy to the upper left corner of the net.
Roy stopped 18 shots.
Mike Sillinger’s fourth goal _ coming on another power play _ was the equalizer for Florida, but Forsberg put the Avalanche back in front for good 47 seconds later.
Notes: Florida fell to 1-8 at home against Colorado. ... The Avalanche got goals from their top three goal scorers _ Sakic, Hejduk and Forsberg. ... Roy was called for tripping Pavel Bure in the third period, the goalie’s third penalty of the season. ... Igor Larionov’s daughters, 9-year-old Diana and 13-year-old Alyonka, sang the National Anthem.