In the first of two meetings this season, the Avalanche dominated their former Western Conference rival, the Detroit Red Wings, 6-3 on MLK Day at the Pepsi Center.
Colorado (28-15-6) scored on its first two shots of the second period Monday and added four more in the third to erase a 1-0 deficit, winning its third straight game heading into the All-Star break.
Centers Nathan MacKinnon and Nazem Kadri each scored twice for the Avalanche, who nearly doubled the Red Wings in shots, 46-25.
“We know that if we kept shooting it would go in,” MacKinnon said. “We kept testing their goalie and thankfully we got a few past him.”
The Avs trailed 1-0 after the first period despite playing 6:27 of it on the power play. But coming out of the intermission, Colorado had 1:33 remaining on the man-advantage and Kadri capitalized, tipping in a shot from rookie Cale Makar to make it 1-1.
On Colorado’s next shot, Makar fed MacKinnon for a tap-in on the open net to put Colorado ahead, a lead it would not surrender for the remainder of the game.
“That was a momentum changer for us,” Kadri said about his power-play goal. “Just being able to execute on the power play and finally buy one. We’ve been getting a lot of opportunities and we felt like it was coming soon. It was definitely a big goal for us.”
The Avalanche added to their lead early in the third period, scoring two quick goals in 53 seconds. Kadri’s second of the day came off a back-door feed from forward Andre Burakovsky. Moments later, Matt Nieto capitalized on a pass from Tyson Jost to make it 4-1.
Jost, who finished with one assist in 12:39, recorded five shots on goal. The young forward now has points in consecutive games after going seven straight without a point.
“I like his game a lot.” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of Jost. “I thought he was really good today. Hard on the forecheck, involved, made some nice plays. He looked like a confident player and a different player tonight. He’s getting a little confidence back into his game.”
Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz made 22 saves, earning his 11th win of the season and first since Dec. 23.
Colorado, which heads into the All-Star break with points in five straight games (3-0-2), will begin a five-game road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, Feb. 1.
MacKinnon, Kadri, Burakovsky, Makar, Mikko Rantanen, Graves and Nikita Zadorov each recorded multiple points in the victory. … MacKinnon has 30 goals in three consecutive seasons, tying Joe Sakic for the club record. … Rantanen’s two assists were his first multi-point effort since a hat-trick against New Jersey on Jan. 4. … Heading into the All-Star break, Graves leads the NHL with a plus-34 rating. Teammate Ian Cole is fourth at plus-24.
- Nazem Kadri – The forward recorded two goals and an assist. His 17 goals rank second on the Avalanche and are already one more than he had in 73 games last season with Toronto.
- Nathan MacKinnon – The fourth NHL player to reach 30 goals this season, MacKinnon is third in points with 72. He will be Colorado’s lone representative at the All-Star game after being voted in as the Central Divison’s captain for the second consecutive year.
- Tyson Jost – He recorded four shots in the first period and five for the game and was credited by his coach for being one of the better players against Detroit. Jost finished with one assist.