It might not be the healthiest option, but all the Colorado Avalanche needed to sweep a weekend series against the Arizona Coyotes was a couple of Big Macs to get them going.
Nathan MacKinnon scored in the first, and Jacob MacDonald added his first goal of the season in the second to push the Avalanche past Arizona 6-2 for their second win over the Coyotes in as many nights.
The goal at 12:16 of the first gave MacKinnon five on the season, and was his third in the last six games. He leads the Avs with 15 assists, as well. MacDonald scored his first of the season in the second period, and Colorado never trailed again.
All four scoring lines notched goals in the win. Gabriel Landeskog, Joonas Donskoi, Tyson Jost and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare added goals in the third to remove all doubt. Landeskog’s goal came on the power play. It was the third game in a row Colorado scored on the man advantage. Jost and Bellemare scored their first of goals of the season, while Donskoi’s was his sixth of the campaign.
The goal also gave Landeskog 202 for his career, tying him with fellow Swede Peter Forsberg for third on the list for most goals scored in an Avs sweater.
Landeskog wasn’t the only Avalanche player to hit a milestone on Saturday. Andre Burakovsky had a pair of assists, but his helper on MacKinnon’s first-period tally gave him 200 career points.
The victory gave Colorado back-to-back wins on the road for the first time all season. The Avalanche have now won seven of the last nine meetings against the Coyotes, including the playoffs.
First Period Sets Tone Again
There’s an old saying that you can’t win a hockey game in the first period, but you can lose it. The Colorado Avalanche beg to differ.
MacKinnon’s unstoppable rip in first period set things up, giving the Avalanche a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Colorado is now 6-1-1 on the road when scoring first, and are 8-1 overall when leading after the first period. Colorado has allowed 42 goals this season. Only seven of those have coming in the opening frame. Conversely, the Avalanche haven’t won a game when they trailed after the first.
The second period was offensively dominant for Colorado on Saturday, too, but they only managed one goal. The Avalanche piled up 20 shots in the second, including 10 in the first five minutes of the frame. But Arizona goaltender Antti Raanta stopped all but one shot – MacDonald’s goal – and the Avs led 2-1 after two.
Phillip Grubauer stopped 22 shots in the victory, including nine in the opening frame. The win was his 10th of the season. He is unbeaten this season when the Avalanche score first with him between the pipes. Grubauer has allowed two goals or less in 11 games this season, going 9-2 in those contests.
MacDonald’s Offensive Fearlessness Pays Off
Jacob MacDonald gave the Avalanche the lead for good with a gorgeous wraparound goal in the second period.
MacDonald has been one of the more underrated defensemen for the Avalanche when called into duty. He’s been solid on defense, but has also been fearless on the offensive end. In his six games with Colorado, he’s piled up 16 shots.
The goal came one day after MacDonald’s 28th birthday. It was his first with the Avs and second of his career. His only other goal came with the Florida Panthers on October 6, 2018, in his NHL debut.
MacDonald’s offensive effort was especially welcome on Saturday, as Cale Makar was scratched before the game with an upper-body injury. Makar leads all Colorado defensemen in scoring with 14 points behind 13 assists.
Colorado will be away from home for two more games, facing the San Jose Sharks on Monday and Wednesday. After those two road games, the Avalanche are scheduled for nine in a row at home.
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.