Looking to build momentum on their five-game road trip the Colorado Avalanche met up with the Ottawa Senators looking to grab another two points from a team at the bottom of the standings. Taking care of business is exactly what they would do in what ended up as a fairly mundane 4-1 win for the Avalanche.
The new look second line kept the train rolling to start the game as Valeri Nichushkin gets his 10th goal of the season on a strong forecheck which then then forced a turnover and return feed from Andre Burakovsky for pretty shot into the back of the net at 7:57.
After holding the Senators to zero shots through most of the period the Avalanche decided to hand momentum to the home team with two straight power plays and then Gabe Landeskog coughed the puck up at the blue line and Brady Tkachuk converted his own breakaway for a goal with under a minute to go. Drake Batherson almost got another right before the first period concluded but it was determined quickly that the puck was kicked into the net and therefore waived off.
It was a grind at times at the start of the second frame but the Avalanche gained the lead on a typical transition rush and nice passing play which resulted in Matt Nieto finding the back of the net at 4:08. Then four minutes later they would build on that lead as Cale Makar struck on Colorado’s first power play in two games with a heavy shot from the point.
Any thought of a Senators comeback was thwarted at 3:38 into the third period when J.T. Compher was the one who finally made use of a Cale Makar pass to bury the puck on his own breakaway attempt and give the Avalanche all the cushion they needed to cruise to a 4-1 victory.
- With the league’s easiest schedule down the stretch this are the type of game the Avalanche need to rack up points in and it is encouraging they have put together a good enough effort for a relatively routine win two games in a row. Giving up a goal at the end of the first period is something to work on however but the focus to keep the game in control is a positive indicator for success ahead.
- Again it was the new second line of Nichushkin, Burakovsky and Nazem Kadri who carried the offense for the critical part of the game. The trio works well together and has found some quick chemistry which is contributing on the scoresheet. The top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabe Landeskog are forcing plays lately and only picked up a couple of assists on the power play goal. More will be needed from them when the other lines run cold and against tougher opponents.
- Cale Makar could have had a monster night in the box score if some of the aforementioned players could have converted on some of the gorgeous plays he made. Still, it was a two point night and puts Makar at 40 points on the season in just 44 games for the very talented rookie.
One final game in the eastern time zone to begin a back-to-back in Columbus on Saturday night at 5pm MT.