In the first period, the Avalanche looked lethargic. Perhaps it was understandable, given that the team hasn’t had more than one day off between games since late February, but it doesn’t matter… because it didn’t last.
Only 18 seconds into the second period, Nathan MacKinnon scored to tie the game at 1-1, and 71 seconds later, Andre Burakovsky scored to break it. The Avalanche never trailed after that, as Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher also scored in Colorado’s high-flying second period en route to a 5-4 road victory against Minnesota that wasn’t as close as the final score made it appear.
“We talked about it a little after the first period — that we needed to come out a little stronger, win the second-man races, be first on the puck,” Burakovsky said after the game. “We were a little slow in the first, and they were out-skating us.”
Five different Avalanche players scored — Gabe Landeskog had the game-winning tally in the final frame — representing three different lines.
“That’s the plan — for us to be a four-line team and have everyone contributing — and when we are doing that, we are tough to play against,” Compher said. “We’re able to just roll it over, keep the momentum going, and that’s kind of what you saw in the second period. When everyone’s going, we are tough to beat.”
NEXT UP: Avalanche (26-8–4, 56 pts) at Wild (23-12-2, 48 pts) | Wednesday, Apr. 7 at 7:00 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
• The Avalanche can tie the franchise record for games with at least one point in their Wednesday rematch with the Wild. Now on a 13-0-2 streak, the Avs can match the Stanley Cup-winning Avs run from Dec. 27, 2000-Jan. 30, 2001, when the Avalanche went 12-0-3-1.
• What rivalry? The Avs have outscored the Wild in the last three games by a combined score of 16-5. Needless to say, they’ve won all three.
• The Avalanche took advantage of their recent home slate. They played 15 out of their last 17 games at home, losing only one of them in regulation. Now, they’ll hit the road for a while; beginning with Monday’s victory, the Avs will finish the season with 14 of its final 19 games on the road.
• The Avalanche signed Boulder native Nate Clurman to a two-year, entry-level contract. Clurman, 22, just completed his junior season at Notre Dame as the team’s captain. The 2016 sixth-round pick is only the second Colorado native ever drafted by the Avalanche (J.D. Corbin, 2004); the 6-2, 205-pound defenseman will begin his career with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles.
• Philipp Grubauer’s fourth straight win gave him a new Avalanche record. Grubauer is 12-0-1 in his last 13 games, breaking the record for points in consecutive games earned by a goaltender. The record was previously held by both Patrick Roy in 1996 and Peter Budaj in 2007.
• Nathan MacKinnon stopped heating up, and went straight to supernova. With a goal and an assist on Monday, MacKinnon has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his last six games.
• Kyle Burroughs made his NHL debut on Monday, and in the third period, he found himself involved in his first career fight. Burroughs, a 5-foot-11, 182-pound defenseman, easily got the better of Minnesota’s 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward Nick Bjugstad, dropping the latter to the ice in short order, and firing up the Avs’ bench. Burroughs “picked up his physical play — obviously he gets in the fight — great to see him do well and bring that emotion and energy to our team,” said head coach Jared Bednar.
THE FINAL WORD
“You have to have the balanced scoring. We know what our top guys are capable of. They will run into games when they get shut down, or things don’t go their way, or goalies make some saves on them, but the more you can keep playing your team game and keep going at other teams in waves with guys that are scoring and feeling good about their games and are confident, the better off you are going to be. The depth is huge. To have those guys spread out like that, scoring goals, is really important. It’s part of the reason why we are on the run we’re on.” — Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar.
• Matt Calvert (undisclosed) missed the Mar. 31 game and is day-to-day.
• Bowen Byram (concussion protocol) last played on Mar. 25 and is considered day-to-day.
• Conor Timmins (upper-body injury) missed the Mar. 8 game and has not played since.
• Dennis Gilbert (facial injury, COVID-19 protocol) was placed on injured reserve on Feb. 20. He is expected to be out until at least late March.
• Erik Johnson (upper-body injury) left the Jan. 30 game and has no projected return date. On March 25, coach Jared Bednar suggested that it was possible that Johnson could miss the remainder of the season.
• Pavel Francouz (lower-body injury) has yet to play this season and remains on injured reserve. On March 25, coach Jared Bednar suggested that it was possible that Francouz could miss the remainder of the season.
LAST NIGHT’S LINES
Top Line: LW Gabriel Landeskog, C Nathan MacKinnon, RW Mikko Rantanen
Second Line: LW Brandon Saad, C Nazem Kadri, RW Andre Burakovsky
Third Line: LW Valeri Nichushkin, C Tyson Jost, RW Joonas Donskoi
Fourth Line: LW Liam O’Brien, C Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, RW J.T. Compher
Top Pair: LD Devon Toews, RD Samuel Girard
Second Pair: LD Ryan Graves, RD Cale Makar
Third Pair: LD Kyle Burroughs, RD Jacob MacDonald
Starter: Philipp Grubauer
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