Breaking: The Colorado Avalanche are very good at hockey.
And after their win on Tuesday night, they now hold an NHL record.
The Avalanche went into Long Island and beat the New York Islanders by a score of 7-4, setting a new NHL record with 15 consecutive regular season road victories. With the win, the team moved to 6-0 on the season, tying the best start in Colorado franchise history.
Not bad, right?
Colorado was led offensively by Mikko Rantanen, who casually put up another four points, including three primary assists and the game-winning goal. The big Finn registered his 300th career assist on the night.
Cale Makar chipped in with three points of his own, and Ryan Johansen picked up two more goals. Alexandar Georgiev had a bit of an off night in net, but still managed to stop 27 of the 31 shots he faced.
Colorado has had a great start to the season, but they haven’t exactly come out flying in a lot of their games. They did exactly that on Tuesday night.
On a very early powerplay, Ryan Johansen struck again, although I’m not sure it’s the shot he intended to put on net. After Cale Makar broke up a play in the defensive zone, he sprung Rantanen and Johansen on a 2-on-1. Rantanen sauced a backhand pass to Johansen, who more or less whiffed on his shot. That ended up working in his favor, because Ilya Sorokin couldn’t track the knuckle puck, and it snuck past him.
The Avalanche had an early 1-0 lead, but Sorokin kept his team in there with some absurd saves.
On another powerplay, Nathan MacKinnon had a wide open net, and Sorokin stuck his paddle out, deflecting the shot wide. Moments later, Rantanen hit Ross Colton on the backdoor, and his shot looked to be headed in, but Sorokin got his toe across to make the stop.
Those saves allowed the Islanders to stay within one goal, and they took advantage. Off a mishandle in the defensive zone by Makar, the Islanders directed a shot towards the net, and Cal Clutterbuck deflected it past a stretched out Georgiev, tying the game at one.
Makar more than made up for his mistake, though. He missed the net early in the game after splitting the defense, but made no mistake on a rush 13 minutes into the game, as he sent a perfect backhand over the blocker of Sorokin after beating a defenseman wide, restoring the one goal lead for Colorado.
They took that lead into the intermission, although it could have been much larger if not for the work of Sorokin in net.
Those Sorokin saves loomed large in the second, as the Islanders found their legs. Colorado started extremely slow, and on an early powerplay for the Islanders, the home team was able to tie the game.
Three minutes later, New York took the lead, as Makar lost his man in front of the net, giving Simon Holmstrom room to place a shot over Georgiev’s glove.
Most of the period belonged to the Islanders, as the Avalanche played sloppy hockey. Georgiev stood tall, keeping the lead at just one for New York. At the other end, Sorokin stopped everything the Avalanche sent his way, including a Ryan Johansen breakaway.
Late in the period, Colorado broke through in a big way.
Moments after a great penalty kill, Bowen Byram scored a much needed goal. Not just for his team, but for himself.
The young defenseman took a drop pass from Valeri Nichushkin, and recognized that he had time to skate in. He moved to the center of the ice, and placed a perfect shot over Sorokin’s shoulder, tying the game at three. You could see the relief on Byram’s face after the goal.
Just 13 seconds later, the Avalanche took the lead again.
A misplay along the boards by the Islanders led to Nichushkin making nifty drop pass to a streaking MacKinnon. The superstar center made no mistake, firing a shot past Sorokin’s glove.
Despite being outplayed for the majority of the period, the star talent of Colorado proved to be the difference, as their quick-strike ability came through late. The road team was just 20 minutes away from making history.
New York didn’t make life easy for Colorado in their pursuit of history.
Just over four minutes into the period, Johansen lost a battle for the puck to Anders Lee, and the Islanders Captain took the puck to the center of the ice. He let a wrist shot go that went off Georgiev’s glove and into the net, a bit of a soft goal from Colorado’s netminder. You could tell Georgiev was clearly unhappy about the goal afterwards.
It was all okay, though, because the star talent for the Avalanche came through again.
Off a lost face-off, Tomas Tatar blocked a shot at the defensive blueline, then beat Pelech to the puck. He sent a backhand pass to the slot to a wide open Rantanen, who fooled Sorokin with a low shot, giving Colorado the 5-4 lead.
Things got dicey late, as the Avalanche were forced to kill off two Tatar penalties, but Georgiev closed the door on a Horvat breakaway, preserving the lead and making up for the goal earlier in the period.
Johansen added an empty netter, and moments later, Ross Colton was credited with his first goal in a Colorado uniform in the most absurd way. The Islanders ended up putting the puck in their own net, but because Colton was the last player to touch it, he got credit for it.
With the 7-4 victory, Colorado improved to 6-0 on the season, and will look to continue their winning ways away from Ball Arena on Thursday, when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. That game starts at 5 PM MST.