The Colorado Avalanche desperately needed a win. And if they wanted to be greedy, a blowout wouldn’t have hurt.
They got both.
A red hot start and some timely saves were just what the doctor ordered, as the Avalanche were able to cruise from the second period on to pick up their first home victory in five games. The blowout allowed the Avalanche to spread the ice time amongst the skaters.
Mikko Rantanen, Artturi Lehkonen, and Alex Newhook all notched two goals, while Brad Hunt scored the other. Newhook and Lehkonen also added assists, and Nathan MacKinnon picked up two helpers.
Pavel Francouz provided everything in net, stopping all 29 shots he faced.
The stars on the Avalanche got the team going early.
A backhand flip in the zone by Rantanen hit MacKinnon in the chest. The superstar corralled the puck, dropped it, and Rantanen ripped a shot high glove to give the Avalanche the early lead.
A little over two minutes, the lunch pail guys on the team got into the action.
A heavy forecheck by both Logan O’Connor and Andrew Cogliano created a turnover by the Senators. The puck came to Cogliano, who flipped a backhand pass to Newhook, and the young forward wired a great shot over Anton Forsberg’s shoulder.
Both teams couldn’t capitalize on powerplays, and the period ended with the Avalanche up by two.
The second period was more of the same for the Avalanche.
Nearly halfway through the period, Ottawa got caught on a bad line change.
Devon Toews hit Lehkonen for a mini-breakaway. The Finnish forward held off Jake Sanderson to get a backhand shot on net that trickled through Forsberg’s pads into the net. That meant a three goal lead for the Avalanche, something they hadn’t seen in weeks.
They weren’t done.
With less than five minutes left, Rantanen added another tally. After a give and go with Newhook, Rantanen fired the puck through Forsberg’s legs for his 29th of the season.
With two periods down, the Avalanche carried a four goal lead. Huge for a team that had been overplaying their top players.
The third period brought them something they desperately needed: a powerplay goal.
Off a spin pass from MacKinnon, Lehkonen was left himself all alone in front of the net. He gave Forsberg no chance to react, sending a spinning backhander through his legs, extending the lead even further.
Brad Hunt added a late goal, along with Newhook notching another, and that was all she wrote. A dominating performance.
The Avalanche will stay at home and try to carry that momentum over on Monday, when they face the Detroit Red Wings. The game starts at 1 PM MST.