The red hot Avalanche look to extend winning streak in Boston

Dec 5, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves (27) scores a goal against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau (30) during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off the heels of a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, the Avalanche are suddenly riding a five-game winning streak.

Colorado (18-8-2) improved to 3-2 on the second leg of a back-to-back this season, defeating Toronto the previous night.

Colorado jumped out to a 3-0 lead, scoring the third goal while shorthanded before the Habs answered back with two goals. It was the second consecutive night that a shorthanded goal held up as the game-winning goal for the Avs.

Goaltender Pavel Francouz recorded 40 saves, 16 of which came in the third period with Colorado clinging onto a one-goal lead.

Takeaways

Landeskog scores in his return. Playing in his first game back after missing 16 games, Avs captain Gabe Landeskog scored in the first period. His fourth of the season put the Avalanche up 2-0. Landeskog was paired with his usual linemates, joining forwards Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon on the Avalanche’s top line. The return pushed Joonas Donskoi down to the second line, alongside winger Andre Burakovsky, who also returned, and J.T. Compher at center. Compher was elevated to the second line, replacing Nazem Kadri, who sat with a lower-body injury.

Ryan Graves scores; continues to have a solid season. His goal in the first period was his fourth of the season and second in four games. Graves currently has a +18 rating, which leads the Western Conference. On Thursday, Graves led the Avalanche with five blocked shots, adding three shots on goal in 18:08.

Francouz, the perfect backup. Francouz improved to 6-2 on Thursday, winning his last four starts overall. He leads the Avs with a .927 save percentage and a 2.43 goals-against average. Francouz has provided Colorado with a great second option to starter Philipp Grubauer.

Preview

Colorado looks to extend its winning streak to six games on Saturday, traveling to Boston to take on the Bruins and close out its three-game road trip at 5 p.m. MST. The Avalanche defeated the Bruins in October at the Pepsi Center.

The Bruins enter the match after falling to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. It was Bruin’s fifth loss at home, all of which have come in overtime. Boston is the only team without a regulation loss on home ice this season.

MacKinnon and Bruins forward Brad Marchand are currently tied for third in the NHL scoring race with 44 points, each. Boston’s David Pastrnak trails one point behind.

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