The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 5-1, on the road Friday night. Here are three takeaways from the victory.
The one benefit of the Avs’ silly schedule, with three back-to-backs in two weeks, is having several days off between games. Colorado looked well rested to open the night in Winnipeg with a furious first period burst against the Jets. The Avalanche tallied four goals over the span of 11 minutes. They needed only five shots on Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck to do it.
Nathan MacKinnon started the party with a breakaway goal just 19 seconds into regulation. Mikko Rantanen had great patience before going top shelf. J.T. Compher tipped in a shot at the net-front on an entry from Rantanen. Then Bowen Byram skated into the slot and sent a rocket into goal. Everything was clicking for the Avs offensively.
There’s no questioning who the best Avalanche player has been since the All-Star break. MacKinnon is simply playing on another level. A goal and assist on Friday marked his sixth-consecutive game with multiple points (14 total). That ties an Avs record since the franchise relocated to Colorado. MacKinnon is a huge reason the Avalanche are 12-2-2 over their last 16 games.
“The more he’s involved in the defensive side of things, the better he is offensively,” coach Jared Bednar said earlier in the week. “Obviously, he spends less time in the (defensive zone). So, we’ve had short discussions over some of those things. I just feel like he’s skating and he’s more determined now. As the season goes on, he’s going to ramp up his game, and he’s doing that.”
It’s no surprise the Avalanche dominated the Jets when you consider their mindset approaching the playoffs. Bednar said, “We put a target on Winnipeg, that's a team that is directly in front of us.” Mission accomplished on Friday night. But what are the Central Division implications? Here’s the latest points standings update.
- Dallas Stars — 72
- Winnipeg Jets — 71
- Minnesota Wild — 70
- Colorado Avalanche — 69
The Avs currently sit in the second wild card slot.
Avalanche 5, Jets 1
What happened: Colorado played one of its most complete games of the season in a key divisional matchup.
What went right: 11 different Avalanche players recorded a point; with two-point nights for J.T. Compher, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. The Avs didn’t allow a goal in the second or third periods after establishing a 4-1 lead in the first. A second period goal from Matt Nieto, his third since joining the team, concluded the team’s scoring efforts.
What went wrong: Colorado gave up a goal early in the first period. The Avalanche failed to score on three power play opportunities and it’s become a trend recently. The Avs are 3-for-25 on PP chances over their last nine games.
Between the pipes: Alexandar Georgiev made 26-of-27 saves. Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck stopped 21 of Colorado’s 26 shots on goal.
What’s next: The Avalanche (32-19-5) host the Calgary Flames (27-20-12), 8 p.m. Saturday (Altitude TV) at Ball Arena.
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