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|9 декабря 2003
Goal by Nikolishin epitomizes effort - Denver Post
By Adrian Dater
Everything that has typified the lackluster first quarter of the season for the Washington Capitals was on display Monday night, while everything that has characterized the understaffed and overachieving Avalanche was equally evident.
While the Caps played lazy, selfish hockey, the Avs were dogged and earnest in their 4-1 victory at the Pepsi Center, which puts Colorado two points up on Vancouver for first place in the Northwest Division.
The Avs' Andrei Nikolishin outfought $11 million man Jaromir Jagr for a loose puck after a faceoff in the Avalanche zone, late in the third period with the score 2-1, that led to his going the length of the ice and beating Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig for the goal that effectively ended the game.
The Avs, still playing without last season's Hart Trophy winner and another former 50-goal scorer in their lineup, got points for the 15th game in the past 17 and have the top ranking in the Western Conference.
"We've got enough depth to where we expect to win every night out," Avs coach Tony Granato said. "This has given a lot of guys who might not have played as much a lot of confidence, and guys are playing for each other."
Although the Avs have turned into one of the better success stories in the NHL, it's not time to consider the Presidents' Trophy a fait accompli. The schedule has been favorable to the Avs, but it's about to get mean. Ahead the rest of the month are first-time encounters with Vancouver (twice), Philadelphia and road contests in tough places such as St. Louis, Anaheim and Los es.
But the Avs are likely to have Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya soon joining a lineup that is tops in the West without them.
"We don't want to look ahead at anything. We just want to play solid hockey every night out against whoever we play," said Avs captain Joe Sakic, whose three assists against Washington gave him seven points in the past two games.
The Avalanche won this one with the same recipe used since Forsberg and Kariya have been out: The Avs got solid play from a rotating core of six defensemen, good play from goalie David Aebischer and enough timely goal scoring to get the job done.
Defenseman Rob Blake was easily the best player in the game, scoring a goal and setting up Teemu Selanne for another, which gave the Avs a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Blake was a plus-3 in nearly 21 minutes and moved to within five points of the Capitals' Sergei Gonchar for most points by a defenseman (26-21).
"I don't know if I'm playing any different from before," Blake said when asked if a recent stretch has been among his best with the Avalanche. "Right now, some pucks are going in. But we're playing well as a defense in our own zone for the most part, and I think that's been a key. Tonight, we gave up one, on the power play."
That Capitals goal, by Gonchar at 1:04 of the third period on a 5-on-3 power play, cut a 2-0 Avs lead in half. That set the stage for duel between Aebischer and Kolzig as to which goalie would stand the tallest the rest of the way. Kolzig has been mentioned in trade rumors as the player the Avs might turn to in the playoffs, while Aebischer is trying to prove he belongs to get the chance.
This time, it would be Kolzig who lost the duel, when former Caps center Nikolishin beat him with a backhander through the 5-hole with 2:03 left. Faceoff specialist Nikolishin was kicked out of the circle by the linesman on the draw leading to his goal.
Former Caps captain Steve Konowalchuk took the draw, with the puck sliding to the left side manned by Nikolishin and Jagr. Nikolishin grabbed the puck and scored unassisted after going the length of the ice.
"That was a great play by (Nikolishin)," said Aebischer, who made 22
saves. "Washington is dangerous because of their skill players, so that
was a huge goal."
Страничка Андрея Николишина
на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"
4 августа. Немецкий имидж форварда Андрея Николишина
- "Советский Спорт"
4 августа. Немецкий имидж форварда Андрея Николишина - "Советский Спорт"