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Avalanche Dominate Blue Jackets For Eighth Straight Win

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Playing at Ball Arena has been a problem for opposing teams all season long, and it’s not going to get any easier with the way the Colorado Avalanche are playing.

The Blue Jackets got the first goal on Friday night, but it didn’t matter. Colorado hit a new level once period two started, toying with the visiting team, and the ice was tilted the rest of the way. The Avalanche scored six straight goals, outshooting Columbus 50-24 on their way to a 6-1 win. That makes it eight in a row for Colorado, and given their upcoming schedule, they could easily make it a double digit win streak next week.

Mikko Rantanen scored two goals, giving him eight in his last five games. Cale Makar, Ross Colton, Nathan MacKinnon, and Valeri Nichushkin each added goals of their own. Alexandar Georgiev made 23 saves in net for another win.

First Period

It has become a tradition for the Avalanche to give up an early goal in games of late, and they made sure that tradition lived on Friday night.

On just their second shot of the game, the Blue Jackets opened the scoring. A turnover right at the blueline by Casey Mittelstadt allowed the Blue Jackets to bring the puck back into the zone and maintain possession. Gaudreau eventually found a pinching Severson on the backdoor, and even though he seemed to fan on the shot, it trickled over Georgiev’s shoulder, making it 1-0.

The second line would more than make up for the mistake, capitalizing on a perfect 3-on-2 halfway through the period. Mittelstadt chipped the puck to Jonathan Drouin, who burst through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone with possession. He dropped it to Lehkonen, who quickly sent it over to a charging Cale Makar, who sent a shot back against the grain, tying the game up.

Colorado had two powerplays in the first, and although they couldn’t score, did hit multiple posts, so they got close. They also got a little lucky, as Nylander hit a post coming out of the box on a semi-breakaway late.

Second Period

The gap in talent between the two teams was very apparent in period two. Colorado outshot Columbus 23-7 in period two, and picked up the only goals of the period, although the Blue Jackets looked like they got one halfway through the middle session.

Period two also brought some experimentation from Jared Bednar, as he flipped his top two centers. Casey Mittelstadt spent most of the period with Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin, while MacKinnon skated between Jonathan Drouin and Artturi Lehkonen.

It was the third line that gave Colorado the lead on a pretty simple play. Zach Parise pulled up along the boards and floated a shot towards the net. Somehow, it snuck through Merzlikins, and Ross Colton was in the crease to tap it home, making it 2-1.

Just 84 seconds later, Mikko Rantanen stayed hot, deflecting a Josh Manson shot through the legs of Merzlikins.

Columbus looked like they got one back when Voronkov tipped home a bouncing puck behind Georgiev, but the goal was called back once it was determined Fix-Wolansky had previously touched it with his glove.

The Avalanche kept pushing, and Cale Makar was inches away from making it 4-1 in the final seconds of the period, but Zach Werenski swept the puck off the goal line.

Third Period

All that mattered at this point, at least to Avalanche fans, was Nathan MacKinnon’s home point streak continuing. Fear not, Avalanche fans – the streak lives to fight another day.

At 6:01 of the third, Cale Makar broke up a zone entry and just smacked the puck to the neutral zone. MacKinnon was still hanging around, and picked it up with a full head of steam for a breakaway. Merzlikins looked like a man who had given up, stacking the pads while simultaneously going for the poke check, leaving a large portion of the net open. MacKinnon found it, and made it 4-1, extending the point streak at home to 33 games.

A minute later, the Avalanche got a powerplay, and incredible passing made it 5-1. MacKinnon, to Drouin, back to MacKinnon, across the ice to Rantanen for his second of the night. It really doesn’t get any prettier than that.

Or does it? Because six minutes later, the trio of Mittelstadt, Rantanen, and Nichushkin put together another perfect 3-on-2, with the big Russian finishing it off to make it 6-1. That was all she wrote for Columbus.

With their eight straight win, the Avalanche moved back into first place in the Central…for at least 24 hours. They’ll be back on home ice on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. That game starts at noon MST.

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Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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