The Colorado Avalanche desperately needed an offensive spark from its second, third and fourth scoring lines. They just needed to come back home.
Colorado got points from all four lines – including four goals and six assists from the second, third and fourth lines – to propel the Avalanche to a crushing 7-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
The bottom three lines managed only five goals combined through the first six games this season.
Brandon Saad scored twice, Valeri Nichushkin put in a short-handed goal, and the Avalanche also got a goal from Joonas Donskoi in the win. Nichushkin’s was his first of the season. 14 different players recorded points in the victory, and six different players scored goals.
Cale Makar had three assists, and Colorado also got goals from defensemen Sam Girard and Devon Toews. It was Girard’s first of the year and Toews’ third.
Trailing 1-0, Donskoi tipped in his third goal of the season at the 16:15 mark of the first, and Saad tallied his second of the year 46 seconds later for the lead. Mikko Rantanen slapped in one of his patented power-play goals from the right circle in the final minute of the first to make it 3-1 at the end of the period, and the rout was on.
For the second game in a row, the Avalanche gave up the first goal of the contest – a swat from Ryan Donato past Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Avalanche outshot the Sharks 10-1 from that point on, netting the trio of goals to close out the opening frame.
Rantanen’s Streak Continues
Rantanen’s first-period tally extended his goal scoring streak to six games.
Only five other players in Avalanche history have had a streak that long, and the list is a roll call of Avs greats. Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Nathan MacKinnon and Milan Hejduk all had six-game goal-scoring streaks in their careers, and Sakic did it three times. MacKinnon was the last player to do it for Colorado, scoring a goal in six straight games to start the 2018 season.
Rantanen is now just one away from Sakic’s franchise record for consecutive games with a goal. Sakic scored in seven straight games from Feb. 29 to March 14, 2000.
Rantanen has been an equal-opportunity scorer, too. His six goals during the streak have been assisted by five different players. MacKinnon has four assists on the goals, but Cale Makar, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, and Bowen Byram have also assisted on his scores.
He’ll have the chance to tie Sakic’s streak on Thursday, when the Avalanche host the Sharks again. For his career, Rantanen now has four goals in eight games against the Sharks.
Home Sweet Home for Avs
The blistering first and second periods continued a trend for Colorado at home.
Before Tuesday’s win, the last home game for the Avalanche was the 8-0 trouncing of the St. Louis Blues back on Jan. 15. The Avs scored all eight goals in that game over the second and third periods.
That stretch along with Tuesday’s early outburst gave Colorado a whopping 15 goals across four consecutive periods at home. That accounts for 60 percent of their total goals in all games this season.
The three-goal first period had to be a relief for Colorado, as well. The Avalanche managed only five first period goals through their first six games, and their only one at home came from Andre Burakovsky all the way back in the opener against the Blues on Jan. 13.
Home ice has also been very friendly to Makar. He hasn’t scored a goal yet, but his three assists on Tuesday gave him eight on the season. Only Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar has more (nine). It was the second time in three home games that Makar has notched multiple assists.
Toews also scored on Tuesday, netting his third goal of the season. Two of Toews’ goals have come at home, but this was his first of the season at even strength.
The Avalanche will hope to continue their recent dominance at home on Thursday when they host the Sharks again before traveling to face the Minnesota Wild for a pair this weekend.
Lifelong storyteller and experienced hockey reporter that has covered everything from major juniors to the NHL. Worked for various newspapers across Minnesota and North Dakota, and now covering the Colorado Avalanche for THW.