The Colorado Avalanche made a statement on Friday night, as they dominated the Minnesota Wild in a 7-1 victory. The win put the Avalanche back into the second wild card slot — at least temporarily — as they continue their push to the playoffs.
The first period couldn't have gone much better for the Avalanche, as they used it to take a two goal lead. First on a great cycle play by the top line, Gabe Landeskog tipped a Mikko Rantanen shot past Devan Dubnyk and in at 9:42. Then at the tail end of a brief power play, Nathan MacKinnon did what he does best and scored his 30th goal of the season to give the Avalanche a two goal lead at 12:08.
The Avalanche were just getting warmed up as they exploded for a four-goal second period just like in their last game against Calgary. Goals from Tyson Barrie, MacKinnon again, and then Carl Soderberg, chasing Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk all the way to the bench. Mikko Rantanen then added the sixth goal for good measure. The rout was on.
Minnesota managed to finally get on the board at 17:07 at the end of the second from Mikko Koivu on a delayed penalty before Matt Nieto put the icing on the cake at 7:36 on a great feed from Blake Comeau. That was all the Wild could muster as they largely played the third period ready to get out of town in a hopes to quickly forget that they gave up seven goals in consecutive games in Denver.
The confidence the Avalanche play with at home is something to behold. Nate MacKinnon ended up with a five-point night, vaulting himself back to fourth in league scoring despite missing three weeks with a shoulder injury. Mikko Rantanen also had a four-point night and quietly has a point per game season with now 63 points.
It wasn't all the top players this evening as ten Avalanche saw their names in the scoresheet. Great secondary scoring from the veterans in Soderberg, Comeau and Neito helped add to the lead. Sam Girard, Patrik Nemeth, and Tyson Barrie each added two points as well.
What may have gone unnoticed is Colin Wilson leaving the game in the second period with what the team called an upper-body injury. Sven Andrighetto seems to be progressing toward a return soon so the depth wouldn't be tested too much if Wilson does indeed miss any time.
The Avs conclude their four-game homestand against the Nashville Predators on Sunday, March 4th at 1pm MST.