When the Avalanche went into Edmonton and lost 6-1 to the Oilers 13 days ago, the two-headed monster consisting of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combined for 11 points.
On Wednesday night, Colorado held the top two scorers in the NHL off the scoresheet, effectively ending McDavid’s 11-game point streak, to defeat the Oilers 4-1 at the Pepsi Center.
Colorado (14-8-2) matched its first line center Nathan MacKinnon against McDavid the entire night, and the Avalanche forward finished the game with two crucial points. MacKinnon set up the game-winning goal before adding an insurance marker 62 seconds later, giving the Avs a 3-1 lead early in the third period.
“I got lucky I guess,” MacKinnon said. “I mean he’s such an amazing player. He’s such a tough player to defend and luckily we kept him off the scoresheet tonight.”
McDavid was been held off the scoresheet for just the sixth time this season. As for Draisaitl, the leading NHL point-producer, it was the fourth time he was held pointless.
“One of the assignments for today was for (Nikita) Zadorov and (Cale) Makar to play against McDavid and Draisaitl,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “It wasn’t perfect, I don’t think it’s ever going to be perfect against a couple of players like that, but I would say Z did a nice job.”
The Avalanche fell behind 1-0 in the first period after Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira beat Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer. Colorado had a chance to tie it up later in the first, receiving a five-minute power-play, with a full two minutes of 5-on-3 mixed in. But Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen was sharp, keeping the Avs off the board before the break.
In the second period, the Avs took control. Outshooting Edmonton 19-5 and getting the game-tying goal from center Nazem Kadri. His eighth goal of the season came after Colorado began to pepper Koskinen with chances before finally breaking through.
The Avalanche stormed out of the gate in the third period, scoring three times in 2:32. The first goal came from forward Matt Nieto, who was inserted into the top line after an upper-body injury to winger Andre Burakovsky kept him out of the games final period. After MacKinnon scored to give the Avs a two-goal lead, second-year forward Logan O’Connor added his first career goal to make it 4-1.
The Oilers did not get another shot on the goal the rest of the way, as the Avs outshot them 50-20, including a 17-3 advantage in the third period.
Another game, another injury. The Avs seemingly cannot get through an entire game in November without an injury. On Saturday it was defenseman Erik Johnson and today it was Burakovsky. Bednar said after the game that he had no other information on the forwards upper-body ailment. The Avs will practice tomorrow morning, where an update on Burakovsky is expected to be announced.
Calle Rosen shines in debut. The defenseman was acquired in the Kadri-Tyson Barrie blockbuster deal in July but had yet to make his Avalanche debut. Rosen had the secondary assist on the Kadri goal in the second period and finished with two shots in 15:43.
A confident Valeri Nichushkin continues to see his ice-time rise. One of the more underrated plays of the night was the effort by the Russian forward in setting up O’Connor’s goal. Nichushkin recorded an assist and finished with four shots, and one more off the post, in a season-high 16:43 of ice-time.
Stat of the Night
The Avalanche outshot the Oilers 36-7 in the final 40 minutes of tonight’s game. Every single Avs skater recorded a shot on goal except for T.J. Tynan. MacKinnon led the way with 10 shots, forward J.T. Compher had 5 and Nichushkin, Kadri and Burakovsky finished with four each.
The Avalanche travel to Chicago for an afternoon affair against the Blackhawks on Friday. The two teams will commence a home-and-home on back-to-back nights at 2 p.m. MST at the United Center.