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Recap: Avalanche steamroll Jets in 5-1 victory

The central division is getting tighter.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

After another lengthy break the Colorado Avalanche were back in action following a one-day trip to face the Winnipeg Jets. The time off seemed to rejuvenate the squad as Colorado jumped early on Winnipeg and cruised to a 5-1 win.

The Game

Even with a four-day break the offensive momentum created in the Edmonton win carried over into this contest. Nathan MacKinnon was sprung for a breakaway by Val Nichushkin and he made the Jets pay as the speed demon deposited the puck over Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck just 19 seconds after puck drop.

That was just a sign of things to come as the Jets got even on their first power play with Mason Appleton getting a tip on the puck in front of the net at 3:12. But the game wouldn’t be tied for long with Mikko Rantanen executing a perfect three-on-one and buried his shot to give the Avalanche the lead again at 4:32, and they would never look back.

JT Compher scored the third Avalanche goal at 7:34 when a Rantanen shot bounced off a couple bodies in front and settled in the back of the net. The real cherry on top and the true dagger of the night was Bowen Byram’s fifth goal of the season at 10:58 which gave the visitors a 4-1 lead. He skated into space and fired a shot from the circles to punctuate the offensive explosion everyone had just witnessed.

The second period was a bit more even as Winnipeg created a few good shifts in the Avalanche zone but no goals materialized for them. To make matters worse, Matt Nieto was the one who scored at 10:59 to put Colorado up 5-1 for good. Shots were fairly even 15-12 for Colorado but they weren’t able to pad the lead any more.

Everyone knew the game was over in the third period with minimal drama and no scoring from either side. Even Hellebuyck got a rest and Dave Rittich manned the Winnipeg net for the final 20 minutes. The Avalanche got a couple power plays in this contest and although they didn’t score on their man advantage it looked much more urgent with Byram quarterbacking. Eventually the clock ran out and Colorado picked up a 5-1 victory and two critical standings points as they look to climb up the central division standings.


It was a well-rounded team win with 11 different players hitting the scoresheet but was also led by the big guns MacKinnon and Rantanen setting the tone early. Both were especially engaged and trying to make things happen as the team got rolling out of the gate.

The Avalanche are lucky that Byram is able to pick up the slack while Cale Makar recovers from his head injury. Now with three goals and four assists in the eight games since his return the team has felt his presence on the scoresheet but are 5-1-2 in the standings over that period of as well. His aggressive fiery competitiveness seems to ignite the team but he has the skill to make a difference as well.

Every day that goes by the central division just keeps getting tighter. Even with the win the Avalanche currently sit fourth because the Minnesota Wild picked up a point with a loss in overtime. However, Colorado now is two points back of Winnipeg and three behind the Dallas Stars with games in hand on all three teams. It could be anyone’s division now and the Avalanche are starting to generate some momentum. Look out.


Another journey back home and a quick turn around to host the Calgary Flames at 8 p.m. MT tomorrow night.