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Friday, March 31, 2023

NHL News: Avalanche double up Habs, grab third place in Central

NHL News: Avalanche double up Habs, grab third place in Central


Artturi Lehkonen scored two of Colorado’s four first-period goals, including career No. 100, and added an assist before leaving with a broken finger against his former team as the visiting Avalanche won 8-4 over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.

Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and two assists while Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon both recorded one of each for the Avalanche, who moved past the idle Winnipeg Jets for third place in the Central Division.

J.T. Compher, Matt Nieto and Bowen Byram also scored as Colorado improved to 3-3-1 in March following its highest-scoring game of the season. Cale Makar registered three assists, and Devon Toews and Logan O’Connor had two assists apiece.

Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev made 15 saves for the win.

Josh Anderson produced a goal and an assist for Montreal, which was outshot 33-19 while falling to 0-5-2 this month. The Canadiens also got goals from Mike Matheson, Denis Gurianov and Jesse Ylonen, and Nick Suzuki notched two assists.

The Canadiens’ Jake Allen allowed six goals on 15 shots before being replaced 3:58 into the second period. Sam Montembeault saved 16 of 18 in relief.

Colorado struck 2:59 into the game as O’Connor drilled a shot that went in off Lehkonen, who spent parts of six seasons with the Canadiens before being dealt to the Avalanche last March.

The Avalanche scored again at 6:09 of the first, as Byram gained the puck off a Montreal turnover and deked Allen for his career-high sixth goal.

Just under two minutes later, Nieto snapped an eight-game goal drought.

Colorado went up 4-0 with four minutes remaining in the first. On a power play, Lehkonen deflected in Rantanen’s drive for his milestone goal.

Montreal scored with 1:02 remaining in the opening period as Anderson redirected Johnathan Kovacevic’s shot past Georgiev.

Rantanen cleaned up a net-front mess 1:48 in the second. A little more than two minutes later, Compher scored from the doorstep to chase Allen. Lehkonen assisted on that goal, but he left soon after with a reported upper-body issue.

With 42 seconds remaining in the second, and via the power play, Gurianov registered his third goal in eight games as a Canadien.

MacKinnon scored in a fifth consecutive game at 8:09 of the third, on a power play. to make it 7-2 before Ylonen and Matheson responded with goals within the next 2 1/2 minutes.

Nichushkin posted Colorado’s third power-play score with 6:51 to play.

–Field Level Media

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