DENVER — Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen scored power-play goals early in the first period, helping the Colorado Avalanche end a six-game slide with a 6-1 win over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
Gabriel Landeskog added a goal off his right skate, Alexander Kerfoot tipped in a shot, Rantanen deflected in yet another and Ryan Graves closed out the scoring with his first career NHL goal as a struggling Avalanche squad won for the first time since Dec. 19.
Colorado finished 3 of 10 on the power play, with two of the goals scored following a 5-minute boarding call on former Avalanche player Cody McLeod just 2 1/2 minutes in.
Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves, including one on a penalty shot by Jimmy Vesey late in the third.
Ryan Strome scored the Rangers’ lone goal midway through third period on a night they were outshot by a 47-25 margin. Alexandar Georgiev attempted to keep things close while giving Henrik Lundqvist a night off. Lundqvist was pulled Wednesday after allowing six goals in a loss to Pittsburgh.
Tyson Barrie had three assists to give him 278 career points, the most by a defenceman in franchise history. Barrie broke the mark held by John-Michael Liles.
After the morning skate, the Avalanche reiterated over and over the importance of a fast start to break out of their 0-4-2 skid.
This helped their cause: Going on the power play early when McLeod slammed the face of defenceman Samuel Girard into the glass on a big hit. MacKinnon scored on a high wrist shot over Georgiev’s glove at 4:40, with Rantanen adding another 2:13 later when his pass went in off the stick of New York defenceman Neal Pionk.
Colorado was getting all the bounces, with Landeskog knocking in a goal with his right skate midway through the second period. The Avalanche led 5-0 in the third before Strome ended Grubauer’s shutout bid on a breakaway.
Graves scored his first career goal following a rebound in the third. He was selected by New York in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, before being dealt to Colorado last February.
MacKinnon and Landeskog each have 25 goals this season. What’s more, Landeskog, MacKinnon and Rantanen now have combined for 175 points this season.
NOTES: Rangers C Kevin Hayes missed the game with an upper body injury. … Avalanche G Semyon Varlamov remains day-to-day with a lower body injury. … The Avalanche are stumping for Landeskog to make the All-Star team through the “Last Men In” vote from the fans. There were buttons and signs that read, “Vote Gabe in.” He appreciated the gesture. “But it’s not something I’m going to lose sleep over or anything like that,” Landeskog said.
Rangers: Stop No. 2 on a three-game trip will be Sunday in Arizona.
Avalanche: Open a five-game trip Tuesday in Winnipeg.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press