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Kolzig's 45-save performance propels Capitals past Avalanche 5-3

When Ovechkin took a slapshot to the leg and crumpled to the ice in the final seconds of the Washington Capitals' 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, Kolzig was highly concerned. "He's our horse, our organization," Kolzig said. "I got a little worried." There was no need to worry. Ovechkin was walking around just fine after the game. "Just a little shot to the leg," Ovechkin said of the injury.

It was an interesting evening for Ovechkin to say the least. He scored his fifth goal of the season, missed a penalty shot in the third period - he kicked the puck back down the ice in frustration - and smashed in the glass near the Avalanche penalty box after ramming Karlis Skrastins into it. He was highly impressed with himself for breaking the glass.

"Wow, I'm stronger," Ovechkin said.

The Capitals' win overshadowed Joe Sakic's 1,500th point. Sakic had an assist in the first period to become the 11th player to reach the milestone. The 37-year-old Sakic is the sixth player to reach the 1,500-point mark for one franchise. Sakic also added a goal in the third period.

"The old man can still shoot," Kolzig said with a laugh. "I didn't want to become part of the history books. It's a great accomplishment."

After announcing Sakic's 1,500th point, the crowd gave him a standing ovation and players tapped their sticks on the ice in appreciation. Sakic sheepishly waved to the crowd as he sat down on the bench. He even downplayed his accomplishment after the game.

"Anytime you hit a milestone, you want to do it on a winning night," Sakic said. "It was nice to get it out of the way, but would have been nicer with a win."

Kolzig made sure that didn't happen. He stopped 45 shots, including 20 in the third period.

"Olie the goalie was unbelievable," said Mike Green, who scored a second-period goal. "It's amazing what he does out there."

The Avalanche thought they had him figured out - pepper him with shots and wait for the rebound. That's how Andrew Brunette scored the first of his two goals. Marek Svatos took a shot, the rebound came out long and Brunette backhanded it into the net in the first period.

"That was a bad rebound by me," Kolzig said.

He didn't allow anymore bad rebounds.

"Olie was the difference," coach Glen Hanlon said. "He did a great job."

The Avalanche cut the lead to 4-3 at 17:22 on Brunette's second goal of the game. Colorado pulled goalie Peter Budaj with 1:12 remaining, but Matt Bradley scored an empty-net goal with 35 seconds remaining after stealing the puck from Sakic.

Green and Ovechkin scored goals 1:38 apart in the second period to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead. That was the difference in Joel Quenneville's opinion.

"The second period was tough," he said. "That got us disorganized in the game."

Alexander Semin recorded an assist on Ovechkin's goal and has at least a point in all eight games. Semin's streak matches Ovechkin's string to open last season.

Budaj, making his second straight start over Jose Theodore, had 25 saves. Theodore hasn't played since giving up eight goals against his former team, the Montreal Canadiens, last Saturday.

This was the first meeting between Washington and Colorado since the Avalanche's 4-1 win on Dec. 8, 2003. Ovechkin was worth the price of admission alone Wednesday.

"Make sure you get your tickets (to watch him)," Green said. "Players like him come around only so often."

Notes: Marek Svatos set a career-high with three assists. ... Matt Pettinger recorded his first assist of the season on Green's goal. ... Chris Clark scored his third goal of the season.



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