Avalanche finish road trip with huge win in Minnesota

Nov 21, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (29) controls the puck against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

Playing their fifth game in eight nights on the road, the Avalanche went into Minnesota one night after defeating Columbus and came away with a 3-2 victory, their fourth straight triumph.

Colorado (32-16-6) scored shorthanded, on the power play and at even strength, all in the second period, and held strong defensively the rest of the way to protect its one-goal lead until the final buzzer.

“Against a division opponent, it’s always important,” captain Gabe Landeskog told reporters in Minnesota. Landeskog scored the game-winning goal midway through the contest. “It was a playoff-type of game, very tight-checking. We’re happy with the way we’re playing right now but know we got to convert the way we have been playing on the road to home ice.”

Landeskog’s goal was Colorado’s third in an 8:59 stretch in the second period. The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead after center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare took a feed from Matt Calvert and beat the goaltender off a slap shot from beyond the left circle while shorthanded. His eighth of the season, a new career-high, was the 35th time the Avalanche have scored the first goal in 55 games.

But after Minnesota scored on the power play to tie the game, Colorado regained the lead, scoring a power-play goal of its own. With Landeskog parked in front of goaltender Devan Dubnyk, center Nathan MacKinnon fired a wrist shot through his teammate, beating the goalie five-hole to make it 2-1. The Avs added another tally three minutes later as Landeskog took advantage of a rebound and scored his 14th of the season from the slot.

The Avs gave up another power-play goal late in the period off a great individual effort from Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala to cap off a five-goal second period.

Avs goaltender Pavel Francouz, starting his first game since the All-Star break, shut down the Wild the rest of the way. Francouz finished with 34 saves, including 10 in the third period, to improve to 7-2-1 on the road.

Takeaways

The Avalanche are the second-best road team in the league. Winning its past four games has certainly helped, but Colorado improves to 18-9-3 away from the Pepsi Center, two wins behind Washington for best in the NHL. The Avs will play their next five games at home, including the Stadium Series outdoor game at Falcon Stadium of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Matt Calvert records his 200th career point. In a career year offensively, Calvert has already recorded his 100th career assist and now, his 200th career point. Calvert is also five goals away from 100. The second-year Avalanche forward has 12 goals and 25 points in 2019-20 and is just one point away from tying his career-high from last season.

Avalanche will begin its five-game homestand on Tuesday. The Avs welcome the Ottawa Senators, who they defeated on Thursday, for the second and final meeting between the two clubs. Colorado will then host the Washington Capitals before preparing for Saturday’s outdoor game against the Los Angeles Kings.

 

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