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Avs lose second straight road game

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two nights after the Washington Capitals gave

up the Southeast Division lead, Sergei Berezin helped them inch

their way back.

Sergei Berezin, center, celebrates after his goal for his new team, the Capitals.
Sergei Berezin, center, celebrates after his goal for his new team, the Capitals.

Berezin had a goal and an assist to lead Washington past the

Colorado Avalanche 2-1 Sunday, getting the Capitals to a point

of Tampa Bay for the division lead. The Lightning moved into first

when the Capitals lost at home to Los Angeles on Friday night.

Acquired from Chicago at the trade deadline, Berezin has scored

in his first two games with the Capitals, including what proved to

be the game-winner Sunday with 3:16 left in the first period. The

goals have been invaluable for the Capitals, who have played the

past three games without the injured Jaromir Jagr.

''I'm not on fire. I am playing with one of the best centermen

in the league, so that always makes it easier,'' Berezin said of

his linemate Robert Lang, who assisted on Berezin's goal. ''He made

a great play to give me an empty-netter. I don't get those often,

but I will take 20 of them.''

Sergei Gonchar scored the game's first goal during an aggressive

first period in which the Capitals outshot Colorado 13-6. The

defenseman knocked in a puck that deflected off Berezin's stick

into the slot with just more than eight minutes left in the

first.

Joe Sakic scored for Colorado, which lost consecutive road games

for the first time this season. The Avalanche remain four points

behind Vancouver in the Northwest Division.

''It just shows how good we've been on the road, and it shows

how disappointing this weekend has been,'' Avalanche coach Tony

Granato said. ''There's 10 (games) to go, and there's no more time

for back-to-back losses.''

Just more than five minutes after Gonchar's goal, Lang skated into

the offensive zone and threaded a pass through defenders that

Berezin knocked in for his 20th of the season to make it 2-0.

''He's scored goals in two of our last two games. That's what he

does,'' Washington coach Bruce Casey said. ''He fits in nicely with

Robert Lang; they seem to have a little chemistry. I don't know if

he will stay there with (Kip) Miller and Jagr returning, we hope in

the near future, but we'll find a place for him. If he scores a

goal a game, we'll find a place for him.''

Alex Tanguay passed from behind the net to a cutting Sakic in

front, and he converted just less than three minutes into the period to

make the score 2-1. However, Colorado, playing without star center

Peter Forsberg because of a charley horse sustained in the defeat Saturday against Detroit, couldn't solve Kolzig (21 saves) again.

Game notes
The Capitals have earned points in eight of their past nine

games. ... The game Sunday was Washington's last at home before its

six-game road trip through Canada that starts Thursday in Calgary.

... Colorado defenseman Bryan Marchment assisted on Sakic's goal;

it was Marchment's first point with the Avalanche since joining the

team earlier this month.