Coming off multiple disappointing overtime losses, the Colorado Avalanche (4-1-2) were looking for a bounce-back performance on the road against the undefeated New Jersey Devils (4-1) Thursday night. Colorado got what it was looking for as the Avs went into New Jersey and stole a 5-3 victory.

Gabriel Landeskog led the way, notching his third career hat trick, including the game winner late in the third period. Mikko Rantanen, in a contract season, also managed to pick up a goal and three assists, as he now leads the NHL in assists.

The Devils used special teams to claw its way back into the game multiple times, scoring two power play goals and another on a delayed Avalanche penalty. In the end though, the Avalanche were clearly the better team at even strength, controlling 57 percent of the shot attempts in the contest.

What can we takeaway from this game?

  1. The Avs got the best performance of the year from defenseman Nikita Zadorov, as he played a vital role in getting the team going Thursday night. ‘Big Z’ threw three massive hits in the first period, and ended up dominating Pavel Zacha in a fight. Even beyond that, he attempted six shots on net and the Avs controlled 73 percent of the shot attempts with him on the ice. More games like Thursday night from Zadorov will likely lead to more victories down the line.
  2. Sven Andrighetto returned to the lineup from injury and wasted no time scoring his first goal. The Swiss forward will be needed to help with secondary scoring when hehe is healthy. Health has been an issue with Andrighetto since coming to Colorado, so they’ll need him to stay on the ice, because his shoot-first mentality is rare on this team.
  3. Philipp Grubauer picked up his first win in an Avs uniform with 27 saves. The only shots that were able to beat him were when the Devils had the man advantage, and he didn’t have much of a chance on any of them. With Grubauer and the way Semyon Varlamov has played, the Avalanche have no worries with their goaltending.
  4. Vladislav Kamenev took yet another step in cementing his spot in the lineup. His playing time went up four full minutes from last game, and he spent important time on both the power play and penalty kill. He also managed to win four of the six face-offs he took, and on a team that struggles mightily in that area, he may be able to carve out a huge role for Jared Bednar.
  5. Ultimately, this game came down to the Captain. Landeskog, like he did several times last year, stepped up when the team needed him most, and scored three very different goals, showcasing his skillset. While MacKinnon and Rantanen are the flash on that line, Landeskog does a lot of the dirty work in the corners and in the defensive zone, and the line would not be the same without him.

The Avalanche continue their road trip in Carolina on Saturday afternoon. The game starts at 11 AM MST.