For the first time this season, the Colorado Avalanche played like the free-wheeling team they aspire to be.
"It was a breakout game for us," Sakic said. "Right from the first period, we got tons of shots. I don't think we've done that in a couple of years."
"Tonight was wide open. We came out flying. We got a couple of goals early, got our confidence and seemed like we had a lot of open ice and could do a lot of things out there."
Sakic had a five-point game, scoring the first Avalanche goal and adding four assists. He recorded his 900th point on his third assist, a second-period goal by Forsberg, then extended his point total to 901 with another assist in the final period.
"It feels great," Sakic said. "I didn't even know that was an issue until it was brought up. It's a nice milestone."
Forsberg finished with four points as Colorado outshot Tampa Bay 45-18.
Colorado goaltender Ptrick Roy had a relatively easy night, making 17 saves. He lost his shutout bid at 16:49 of the third period when Darcy Tucker scored a shorthanded goal.
"Scoring eight goals is something we were looking for," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said. "Patrick was solid, and our six defensemen moved the puck well. We were real strong in our zone, and we generated lots of scoring chances by going at the net - something that we've been preaching very hard."
Tampa Bay suffered its second straight rout. The Lightning, beaten at home 10-2 by the New York Rangers on Tuesday, were outshot 22-4 in the opening period and ell behind 4-0.
"The other night it was too much (Wayne) Gretzky and Kevin Stevens," Lightning coach Jacques Demers said. "Tonight it was too much Sakic and Forsberg. They're both great players, and they took advantage of areas of our game where we're having problems right now."
Sakic, goal-less on the Avalanche's just-completed six-game road trip, made it 1-0 at 3:13. Defenseman Cam Russell took a shot from just inside the blue line, and Sakic punched in the rebound.
Two minutes after Claude Lemieux's goal was disallowed because Deadmarsh was in the crease, Deadmarsh atoned by scoring the first of his two goals in the period. Deadmarsh, scoring his first goal in six games, shot from the left circle over Daren Puppa's left shoulder at 12:14.
Alexei Gusarov followed witht the first goal this season by a Colorado defenseman, beating a screened Puppa from the right circle at 14:52.
Deadmarsh made it 4-0 at 18:13 on a power-play goal from just left of the net after taking a pass from Forsberg.
Tampa Bay benched Puppa in favor of Bill Ranford and played a tighter-checking second period, and Forsberg's power-play goal was the only score of the period. Forsberg skated behind the net, then out front, beating Ranford at 18:09.
Forsberg scored again early in the third period, and rookie Chris Drury and Jeff Odgers also had goals.
Both teams were missing key players because of injuries. Tampa Bay was without Rob Zamuner, Mikael Renberg, Kjell Samuelsson and Stephane Richer, while Colorado played without Valeri Kamensky, Adam Foote, Sylvain Lefebvre, Eric Messier and Wade Belak.
The Lightning also were without defenseman Enrico Ciccone, who served a one-game suspension for elbowing the Rangers' Marc Savard on Tuesday.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved