The Colorado Avalanche jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating the Arizona Coyotes 5-1 to finish off the perfect three-game road trip. The victory puts the Avs ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for third in the ultra-comparative Central Division.
The Avalanche did exactly what you want to do when you’re facing a goalie making his first start in three weeks. Coming out flying, the Avs threw 18 shots at Antti Raanta in the first period, enabling them to jump out to an early lead and coast their way to a victory.
The Coyotes came into the game leading the NHL - by a wide margin - with 10 short handed goals, but it was two penalty kill tallies by J.T. Compher on the same first period penalty that put the Avalanche out in front for good.
All-in-all it was a pretty poor performance from the Coyotes - but hey, at least they looked great in those Kachina jerseys.
Let’s take a look at how the game went.
Vinny Hinostroza ended up with the first real quality scoring threat for Arizona in the first few minutes, but he failed to convert. It was followed quickly by a really nice attempt by Carl Soderberg but he was denied by Raanta as both goaltenders were able to start off the game with clear-cut saves.
The Coyotes were really showcasing some offensive pressure in the first five minutes of the game. Shortly thereafter, Mikko Rantanen rang one off the crossbar with the second attempt being turned away by Raanta. It was then a Rantanen penalty that turned the tide of the game - but not for the team you’d expect.
Only 13 seconds into the penalty, J.T. Compher scored his fourth goal of the season to break the scoreless tie.
Then a little more than a minute later, it was Compher again scoring his second shorthanded goal of the season to put the Avalanche up 2-0. You couldn’t have asked for a better start for Compher who was playing in his first game back after missing six weeks while recovering from a concussion.
The Avalanche were then able to extend the lead to three as Mikko Rantanen scored on his first shift after the penalty. It was the ninth of the year of the league’s leading scorer as Gabriel Landeskog picked up the lone assist.
The Avalanche carried the 3-0 lead into the first intermission having out shot Arizona 17-11.
The second was far less eventful. Aside from the two teams exchanging trips to the box midway through the period, not a whole lot happened. The Coyotes were able to close the gap on the shot clock, giving Grubauer some work but nothing overly dangerous.
The Coyotes were able to put on a lot of pressure early in the third, but Philipp Grubauer looked great in what was probably his best performance so far this season.
Coyotes nearly got on the board there, but nothing is getting past Grubauer tonight. He's been in perfect position and fantastic with his trajectory reads all night.— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) November 24, 2018
He held Arizona off the board long enough for Tyson Barrie to extend the lead at the 6:11 mark of the period. Number four was able to bury a strong wrist shot on a play that was entirely created by the speed of Nathan MacKinnon. The goal was Barrie’s third of the season and second in as many games.
With a four goal lead midway through the third, the only thing left to play for was the shutout. Unfortunately, the Avs couldn’t get there as Dylan Strome tucked home his third of the season. Arizona’s goal came on a powerplay with after Landeskog was sent to the box for slashing.
The captain got the goal back, scoring a powerplay goal of his own with just over four minutes remaining in the game. It was the birthday boy’s 14th of the season, but more impressively, it was his 11th goal on the road.
The Avalanche did everything they could to get Compher the hat trick, but unfortunately a shot off the post with 50 second left in the game was the closes he would get.
Make the final 5-1 as Colorado ends their road trip with a perfect three wins in three games. Now the Avs return home to take on the Dallas Stars tomorrow night at the Pepsi Center.