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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

    NHL News: Avalanche blast Ducks, set up showdown with Wild

    Nathan MacKinnon and Bowen Byram each had a goal and an assist as the visiting Colorado Avalanche cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday for their third consecutive win.

    Valeri Nichushkin, Jack Johnson and Samuel Girard also scored goals and Cale Makar added two assists for Colorado (44-23-6, 94 points), which remained one point behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division. Colorado, which has a game in hand, will oppose the Wild on Wednesday night in Denver.

    Jonas Johansson stopped 29 of 30 shots to improve to 4-1-0 in his career against the Ducks.

    Derek Grant scored for Anaheim (23-41-10, 56 points), which took its fifth straight loss. John Gibson made 39 saves for the Ducks, who finished an eight-game homestand with just a 1-6-1 record to fall to 12-22-3 at the Honda Center this season.

    Things began well for Anaheim, which took a 1-0 lead at the 12:08 mark of the first period when Makar’s outlet pass was behind MacKinnon and went to Jakob Silfverberg in the high slot. Silfverberg then passed to Grant, who redirected the puck between Johansson’s pads for his fifth goal of the season.

    Byram tied it a few minutes later when he flipped a wrist shot from the left point through traffic past Gibson for his ninth goal.

    Colorado then took a 2-1 lead with just 7.9 seconds left in the period on MacKinnon’s spinning wrist shot from the top of the left circle past a Mikko Rantanen screen and into the near top corner. It was his 32nd goal of the season.

    The Avalanche then took control with two goals in the span of 1:41 early in the second period. Johnson got the first one with a long wrist shot from just inside the blue line through traffic for his first goal since Oct. 13, 2021, a span of 159 games (including playoffs).

    Nichushkin made it 4-1 with a one-timer into an open right side of the goal off a crossing pass from MacKinnon at 3:46.

    Girard increased the lead to 5-1 at the 4:22 mark of the third period with a power-play goal, tapping in a long rebound of an Evan Rodrigues shot. It extended Colorado’s streak with a power-play goal to 12 games.

    Anaheim forward Trevor Zegras, who leads the team with 22 goals and 59 points, left the game in the second period due to a lower-body injury and didn’t return.

    –Field Level Media


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