Avalanche Secure Fourth-Straight Win with 5-4 Result Over Senators
Finding ways to win.
The Colorado Avalanche won their fourth-straight game with a 5-4 defeat over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre as the Avalanche continued a four-game road trip. Colorado also extended its point streak to seven games (5-0-2). The Avalanche are now 38-22-6 for their season record and rank third in the Central Division standings.
For the Avalanche, Mikko Rantanen paced the Avalanche with a three-point (1G, 2A) night as Cale Makar (1G, 1A), Evan Rodrigues, Lars Eller scored and Valeri Nichushkin added a power-play strike. Nathan MacKinnon handed out three assists. In net, Jonas Johansson turned aside 32 of the 36 shots he faced.
For the Senators, Shane Pinto and Travis Hamonic scored at even strength while Drake Batherson and Brady Tkachuk (1G, 1A) found the back of the net on the power play. Tim Stuzle dished out three assists, while Jake Sanderson posted two helpers. Mads Sogaard made 25 saves on 30 shots.
Colorado keeps on finding ways to win.
The Avalanche took an early 2-0 lead with an even-strength goal and a power-play goal, but the Senators added a late power-play conversion of their own to trim their deficit down 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Makar opened the game’s scoring just 2:35 into the period. Off a Nathan MacKinnon faceoff win in the right faceoff circle, Rantanen sneakily dropped the puck behind him to the top of the circle for Makar. The blueliner grabbed the puck and wired his shot past Sogaard to put the Avalanche on the board.
Colorado doubled its lead at 5:00 on the first power play of the game. Ottawa’s Hamonic was called for holding at 3:49. Makar took a pass from Rantanen at distance and wired his shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. At the net front, Nichushkin swatted the puck as it changed directions and waffed past Sogaard’s glove.
Having taken a 2-0 lead, the Avalanche came out with a strong effort with a penalty kill at 5:44 and then Johansson denied two shorthanded looks from the Senators’ just under the midway mark of the first period. Colorado was on its second power play at 9:01 as Ridly Greig was sent to the box for cross-checking. Ottawa managed to gain possession of the puck and Johansson made a pad stop on a Sanderson shot on the fly as well as a shot in tight from leading scorer Stuzle.
The Avalanche didn’t come away unscathed as the period neared its close. Alex Newhook was whistled for interference at 18:26. Ottawa converted on the power play as Batherson redirected a Stuzle shot at the net front to beat Johansson at 19:33.
Colorado extended its lead 5-2 with a three-goal effort in the second period. The Avalanche took a 3-1 lead just 4:23 into the middle frame on a zone cycle as Bowen Byram threaded a pass out to MacKinnon. From distance, the centerman fired a one-timer on net and in the low slot, Rantanen connected his stick with the puck to notch his team-leading 45th goal of the season.
The Senators made it a one-goal game as they capitalized on a quick-transition play at 8:20. From their own zone, Erik Brannstrom sent the puck into the offensive zone. Julien Gauthier grabbed the pass off the wall and zipped it across the ice to Pinto. On the fly, Pinto beat Johansson with his quick wrist shot.
The intensity of the game heightened with just a one-goal margin separating the Avalanche from the Senators, but Colorado added two late strikes to secure a 5-2 lead heading into the final 20-minute frame.
Off the rush at 15:17, MacKinnon carried the puck into the offensive zone and sent a lateral pass to Rodrigues inside the right faceoff circle. The winger sniped his shot over to the far side of Sogaard’s right arm.
Colorado netted its fifth goal of the game on a fluky play with just 1:51 left. The puck had sailed down from the Avalanche’s defensive zone into their offensive zone. The puck ricocheted off the end board and shot out to the near post. Sogaard grabbed the puck in the crease, but no whistle was blown, but the netminder dropped the puck near his right pad. With no whistle having been blown, Eller showed off his veteran savvy and jammed the loose puck past Sogaard’s pad at 18:09.
Ottawa Head Coach D.J. Smith used a coaches challenge on the goal, but upon review, the officials confirmed that Eller’s goal stood which confirmed his first goal as a member of the Avalanche since he was traded to the club via Washington on March 1.
The Senators put the pressure on to start the third period as they held the Avalanche without a shot through six minutes. Ottawa took advantage of and trimmed their deficit down 5-3 early. Brady Tkachuk snapped a pass across the slot to the right faceoff circle to Stuzle. The German winger unleashed a wrist shot that Johansson made the stop on, but gave up a rebound in tight where Hamonic crashed the crease and buried the loose puck at 2:52.
Ottawa pulled within one goal once again with another conversion on the power play. Rantanen was called for holding at 12:45. On the Senators’ power play, Sanderson sent a lateral pass out to Stuzle atop the left faceoff circle where he fired off a quick shot on net. Tkachuk redirected the puck at the top of the goal crease to make it a 5-4 game at 13:18.
Colorado dug deep to hold the pesky Senators off as the clock wound down – and after Devon Toews was called for tripping at 19:19 and Ottawa exchanged Sogaard in place of an extra skater. Despite the 5-on-3 the Avalanche faced during the final minute of play, Johansson stayed solid between the pipes – making a sensational backdoor save – and Colorado secured the two-point victory to extend their win streak to four games.
- Rantanen recorded his team-leading 45th goal of the season. With his goal and two assists, The Finnish extended his point streak to six games where he compiled 10 points (4G, 6A) in that span.
- Makar buried his 16th goal of the season.
- Nichushkin notched his 14th goal of the season and ninth on the power play.
- Rodrigues registered his 14th goal of the season.
- Eller scored his eighth goal of the season and first goal as a member of the Avalanche. The goal was also the Danish winger’s first game-winning goal of the season.
- MacKinnon extended his point streak to seven games where he’s produced 12 points (5G, 7A)
- Johansson made his first start of the season for the Avalanche and improved his record to 1-0-0 with his first win of the season.
- Colorado finished the game 1-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.
- Artturi Lehkonen (upper body), Kurtis MacDermid (lower body), Pavel Francouz (lower body) and Josh Manson (lower body) were scratches for the Avalanche.
The Avalanche conclude their four-game road trip in Detroit on Saturday afternoon. The puck drops between the Avs and Red Wings at 11:00 a.m. MT.