Home is where the heart is. And the wins, too, apparently.
Nazem Kadri scored the lone shootout goal to help the Avalanche extend their franchise-best home winning streak with a 4-3 triumph over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. It was their 13th consecutive victory at Ball Arena and 15th of the season in just 18 games.
The Avalanche (15-2-1) have dominated teams over the past 12 months at home. Last year they were 22-4-2, which currently holds as the best points percentage they’ve ever had (.821). If their current pace continues, they’ll blow past that record. Colorado currently has an NHL-leading .861 points percentage in home games.
“Whenever you’re winning 13 in a row at home a lot of things are working,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “Different contributions from different guys, good depth going through the lineup. The top guys have also been playing really well and capitalizing on their chances.”
It’s been a few years since a team has had a run like this. The 2017-18 Toronto Maple Leafs also won 13 straight games at home. That streak coincided with the Avs’ only other streak of 10 consecutive home wins.
While last season was shortened to just 28 home games, the Avs also have the ability to surpass the most wins in one season in Denver. Through their first 25 seasons, they’ve reached 25 wins on six different occasions. The most recent (2013-14) saw them record 26 wins at what was then called the Pepsi Center.
The Stanley Cup-winning 2000-01 Avs had a franchise-best 28 wins at home.
Colorado has 23 more games left with an opportunity to pass that record — perhaps even get to 30.
The Avs play five of their last nine games to close out the month at Ball Arena.
Against the Coyotes, Avs winger Mikko Rantanen opened the scoring with his team-leading 17th of the season and Tyson Jost recorded his 100th career point to make it 2-0 in the first period.
But Colorado suddenly found itself trailing by a goal in the third, only to get the game-tying goal 29 seconds later from Andre Burakovsky.
“I really wish that I could have that third goal back,” said Francouz, who made 23 saves to improve to 3-1. The Avalanche outshot Arizona 47-26.
“I’m really happy we won but I’m not I’m not super happy about my game,” Francouz said. “It’s really tough when you don’t get a lot of shots and you’re waiting for every save. I really wish that I could have that third goal back.”
Colorado was strong on the penalty kill. In the second period, the Coyotes had a full two minutes of 5-on-3 that was killed off. And with 1:45 remaining in regulation, Colorado was tasked with killing another penalty that stretched into overtime.
The power play, however, struggled mightily. The Avs were 0-for-5 with the man advantage and surrendered a shorthanded goal to Clayton Keller in the first period.
“Too methodical for me,” Bednar said of the power play. “I didn’t mind the last power play but the rest of the time, too methodical.”
Both teams will have little time to rest, as they continue their back-to-back in Arizona on Saturday. Former Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was acquired by the Avalanche in an offseason trade, is expected to start.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog is set to rejoin the team after missing three games in COVID protocol.
The Avalanche are 8-6-2 on the road.
Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.
Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif