Against one of the faster and more skilled offenses in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche showed how a defense that won the Stanley Cup last spring can still be administered with deadly effect on the opponent.
The Avalanche beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 with a stifling defense that made it pretty easy for goalie Pavel Francouz. It was the fourth victory in a row for the Avalanche.
Cale Makar scored the first two goals of the game, within the first 18 minutes. He got a good bounce on the first one, but made no doubt of a slap shot to make it a 2-0 game at 17:51. Mikko Rantanen was the other big star of the game, with a goal and three assists.
“I’m just happy we’ve won four in a row,” Rantanen told the crowd in a post-game interview. “I think we played a pretty good 60 minutes there. We had a good worth ethic.”
SOME OBSERVATIONS AND TAKEAWAYS
- Well, first off, another injury, maybe two. Kurtis MacDermid left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. Sampo Ranta was missing from the bench in the third period. No immediate prognosis on either.
- The Avalanche just didn’t give ’em much. The Avalanche never allowed more than 10 shots in a period.
- Francouz had to make a few good saves in the first period, but had a pretty easy time of things after about the 30-minute mark of the second.
- Colorado Avalanche still only won 39% of their faceoffs.
- Rantanen now has 23 points in 13 games.
- Avalanche outshot Carolina 28-25.
QUOTES FROM PR
Colorado RW Mikko Rantanen
On The Power Play: “I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job. They have a pretty good PK. The last few years, they’ve been top of the league every year and they made it hard on us. We got a good bounce there from the glass, so a little lucky but that’s what you need sometimes.”
On The Avs’ Second Goal: “Pre-scout was that they play man-on-man in the D-zone. So, if you have a step on the guy, you try to take it to the net right away and then maybe somebody else opens up if somebody else has to cover and that’s what happened. I think they lost a guy a little bit there behind the net too, broke his stick, so maybe a little bit lucky there too, but good job by Cale (Colorado D Cale Makar). He’s good at reading those plays and finding open ice.”
Colorado D Cale Makar
On His Second Goal: “When I saw him (Colorado RW Mikko Rantanen) throw him down in the corner, I was like, that was a pretty good battle, and then obviously beat him out of there with the puck. I just saw an opening backside and Mikko was able to slide it over, good play, and I got a little bit lucky on that one. But yeah, obviously all Mikko for sure.”
On The Avs’ Defensive Effort: “For us, we kept it a relatively boring game. We tried to minimize a lot of their high end chances that they usually get. I feel like we did a good job whether it was our forwards sinking down or just trying to play them tight in the corners. So, a little bit tough when you go down to five D, but I feel like as a D-core, we thrive off of that sometimes, just kind of rolled with it.”
The Avalanche has won a season-high four straight contests.
Colorado finished 1-for-4 on the power play and is 16-for-41 (39.0%) this season, the best power-play percent age in the NHL.
The Avs moved to 10-3-1 all-time on Hockey Fights Cancer Night.
Cale Makar record his 50th career multi-point game, passing John-Michael Liles for the third-most by a de fenseman in franchise history behind Sandis Ozolinsh (63) and Tyson Barrie (57). It was his seventh career multi-goal outing, passing Barrie (6) for second most by a Quebec/Colorado defenseman behind Ozolinsh (8). His seven multi-goal outings are tied with Roman Josi for the most among NHL blueliners since Makar made his regular-season debut in 2019-20.
Makar, who played in his 191st NHL game tonight, notched his 50th career goal with his first tally of the night. Only three defensemen in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) required fewer games to reach the mark: Phil Housley (148 GP), Ray Bourque (170 GP) and Denis Potvin (185 GP).
Mikko Rantanen (1g/3a) tallied 3+ points for the second straight contest. It was his fifth game of the season with three or more points, tied with Connor McDavid for the most in the league.
Nathan MacKinnon has collected 12 assists in his last five games and is tied for first in the league with 19 helpers this season.
Rantanen and MacKinnon pace all Avalanche skaters with 23 points each, tied for third in the league. Their 1.77 point-per-game average is tied for second in the NHL.