Bellemare, Avalanche dominate Vegas before holiday break

Dec 23, 2019; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (41) celebrates after scoring a first period goal against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche were not interested in a third straight collapse late in the third period.

Colorado (23-11-3) led by three goals after two periods, but kept their foot on the gas in the third, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 7-3 at T-Mobile Arena on Monday.

The game was very reminiscent of the first meeting between the two Western Conference powerhouses. Former Golden Knight Pierre-Edouard Bellemare opened the scoring and Matt Nieto added a shorthanded goal later in the period to make it 2-1. Colorado would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way.

Forwards Nazem Kadri, Gabe Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin added to Colorado’s offensive rout to give the Avs the commanding victory over Vegas.

Takeaways

Bellemare continues to dominate his former team. Heading into this game, Bellemare had not scored since the last meeting against the Golden Knights. In that game, Bellemare recorded one goal and added two assists. On Monday, Bellemare scored two goals. Five out of Bellemare’s 12 points have come in the two contests against the team he played for the past two seasons.

Colorado’s power play was strong. The Avalanche were 3-for-26 over the past eight games before scoring twice with the man-advantage against the Golden Knights. It’s just the fourth time this season that Colorado has recorded multiple power-play goals in the same game. More importantly, the Avs’ top unit provided the offense on the power play as Rantanen and Landeskog were both set up by MacKinnon.

The Avs finished 2-for-5 on the power play.

Francouz quietly continues his surge to the top of the goalie rankings. In his first year as a full-time NHL goaltender, Francouz is 11-2-1 and ranks in the top-three in both goals-against average and save percentage. Francouz is also on a 9-0-1 run in his last nine decisions after starting the season 2-2.

The Avalanche will host the Minnesota Wild for the first of four straight Division Rival games at 6 p.m. MST on Friday.

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