Avalanche Beat Rangers for Ninth Straight Win
Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist each, Jonathan Bernier made 27 saves and the streaking Colorado Avalanche beat the Rangers, 3-1, on Saturday afternoon for their ninth straight win.
The Avalanche have won eight straight at home and haven’t lost since Arizona beat them on Dec. 27. Colorado has outscored opponents, 37-15, in the last nine games and has not trailed during the winning streak.
Colorado has won nine in a row for the first time since Oct. 10 to 28, 2000, the last season it won the Stanley Cup.
Pavel Buchnevich scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 34 shots for New York.
Colorado took a 2-0 lead with goals by Johnson in the first period and MacKinnon early in the second. MacKinnon used Rangers defenseman Steven Kampfer as a screen to beat Lundqvist.
MacKinnon has goals in five straight games and has recorded at least one point in each game of Colorado’s streak. He is second in the N.H.L. in scoring with 59 points (23 goals, 36 assists).
The Rangers cut the deficit in half when Buchnevich tipped in a pass from Mats Zuccarello at 6 minutes 55 seconds of the second period. It was just the third power-play goal the Avalanche have allowed in the last 18 games.
New York had several chances to tie it in the third period. Nick Holden and Jimmy Vesey whiffed on a loose puck in the crease early in the frame, and Vesey had a shot ring off the crossbar in the last four minutes.
Rick Nash nearly got the equalizer with 11.9 seconds left with a high shot to the short side, but Bernier made the save. Rantanen scored into the empty net with less than a second left.
The Avalanche have won eight straight at home and haven’t lost since Arizona beat them on Dec. 27. Colorado has outscored opponents 37-15 in the last nine games and has not trailed during the winning streak, which has moved the team into playoff position in the Western Conference.
“We can’t get comfortable,” MacKinnon said. “That is why we are fighting every night because we need these points. It’s so tight, the division is so tight.”
Colorado has won nine in a row for the first time since Oct. 10-28, 2000, the last season it won the Stanley Cup. That was during a run of success that brought the Avalanche two championships and six conference finals in seven seasons.
All of their nine wins have come against teams in playoff position.
“They’re feeling it right now, there’s no question,” Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. “Their top guys are playing really well and make a difference for them.”
Pavel Buchnevich scored and Lundqvist stopped 34 shots for New York. The Rangers were missing five players who would normally be in the lineup.
Rangers right wing M ichael Grabner was a late scratch because of the flu. Center Daniel Catenacci, recalled on Friday, was in the lineup for his first N.H.L. game in two seasons. … Rangers center Kevin Hayes (leg contusion) and defenseman Marc Staal (hip flexor) skated before the game and hope to play Sunday night against the Kings in Los Angeles.
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