The Colorado Avalanche continues to score touchdowns.
The Avs’ high-powered offense rolled to a 7-1 victory on Thursday night over the visiting Winnipeg Jets at Ball Arena. The Avs’ top-line combination of Gabe Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen combined for 12 points (five goals and seven assists).
Here are five additional takeaways from another dominant team performance.
Historic NHL offense. Just how impressive is the Avalanche scoring surge this season? Colorado has produced seven goals in seven games this season. That’s the most in NHL history through 30 games played since Mario Lemieux and the Penguins did it nine times back in 1995-96. Landeskog led the way Thursday night with his fourth career hat trick.
“We have enough skill and offensive depth to score a lot of goals,” Landeskog said. “We can win games like this but it’s important to keep in mind, coming down to the playoffs, it’s not going to be 7-1. It’s going to be 2-1 or 2-0 type hockey games. Those are the games that we look forward to playing.”
Resilient PK. Avalanche penalty-kill failures were an early blemish this season with a 73.6% overall kill rate entering Thursday night (No. 28 in the NHL). Colorado flipped that narrative against Winnipeg.
The Avs gave up a power-play goal in the first period. But the team locked in with four consecutive kills to close out the game.
“Stringing together four in a row, we haven’t done that for a while,” coach Jared Bednar said. “The whole penalty kill did a nice job tonight. They were aggressive and dictating where Winnipeg was going with the puck. We did a pretty good job of protecting the slot.”
Norris campaign. Cale Makar did not record a point in Colorado’s latest scoring outburst. But his strong play defensively (five blocks and two hits) showcased the growth of his overall game. Makar has also taken on more PK responsibility.
It all suggests Makar will be strongly considered for the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL. Ask teammates and the honor is well overdue.
“It should be his second (Norris Trophy) in a row,” MacKinnon said. “All of us saw that he’s the best defenseman in the league. … He’s going to score 30 goals. He’s so dynamic. He’s killing (penalties) now and maturing. He’s physical. He does everything and he’s super even-keeled. Every game, he’s bringing his best. Not many teams have a number one defenseman. We have the best one.”
Big Game Bo. Rookie defenseman Bo Byram, in his third game back from a lengthy injury absence, finished with one goal and one assist against the Jets. Byram missed a month this season with concussion symptoms.
“He’s getting better and better every game, as expected,” Bednar said. “He has to be a guy that plays an assertive style and he’s part of it on the rush. … I saw more of that physicality defending tonight. … He’s still got a little bit more to go from where he was pre-injury. But I know it will come. He’s been working hard. You’ve just got to get some game reps and feeling more comfortable.”
Kuemper rolling. Starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper is on a seven-game win streak that matches a personal career-best set in 2019 with the Arizona Coyotes. He’s been phenomenal over his last 14 appearances at 12-1-0 with a .915 save percentage and a 2.51 goals-against average. Kuemper’s nine consecutive home wins are tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history.
On Thursday night, Kuemper rebounded from an early Jets power-play goal to make 34 saves.
“I even thought (Winnipeg) got a fortunate bounce on the first one,” Bednar said.
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