Mikko Rantanen got the home team on the board first with a neat swipe in front of the crease.
And then Cale Makar scored his 13th goal of the season on the power play to set the score at 2-0 in Colorado’s favor after the first period.
After the long awaited Kurtis MacDermind and Ryan Reaves fight occurred Ryan Strome got the Rangers on the board in the second period off of a funny bounce in front of the net. Val Nichushkin responded with a tip goal of his own to keep the Avalanche ahead by two at the end of 40 minutes.
In the third period things got interesting when it appeared the Avalanche had scored their fourth goal of the evening from J.T. Compher but the Rangers challenged for goaltender interference and won on some very minimal contact from Compher. Shortly after Julien Gauthier scored for the Rangers to cut the lead 3-2 and made the last couple moments intense with their goaltender pulled for the extra attacker.
Nichushkin put the game on ice, however, for the Avalanche when he scored on a breakaway with a fantastic individual effort for his second goal of the night and secured the 4-2 final score for the Avalanche.
It was another tough night for Adam Fox in the head to head matchup with Cale Makar as he netted only one assist but also had a hard night analytically in both 28% Corsi For and 20% expected goals. Fox wasn’t getting a lot of help from his teammates but with Makar asserting himself both in the boxscore and in underlying metrics it really hasn’t been much of a head to head debate this season.
Justin Barron was recalled and made his NHL debut due to the ongoing roster shortage. In nine minutes of time on ice Barron contributed one hit and was +1 partially due to a fantastic pass he made to start the play on Nichuskin’s first goal. Mostly paired with MacDermid it was a sheltered role for Barron but still he ended up with 84% Corsi For and expected goals. It was a solid if not strong debut for the 20-year old and his opportunity should continue while Toews is out until after the holiday break.
The Avalanche departed for and are expected to face the Nashville Predators on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. MT pending COVID issues from the Predators.