GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Gabriel Landeskog said the Colorado Avalanche have felt a little snakebit in recent weeks, putting together good offensive opportunities without many goals to show for them.
That changed in a big way Saturday night.
Jacob MacDonald broke a tie with his first goal of the season and the Avalanche scored four times in the third period to beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 and sweep the two-game, two-day series.
Nathan MacKinnon, Joonas Donskoi, Tyson Jost and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored, with the Avalanche putting 41 shots on goal. Philipp Grubauer stopped 23 shots for the victory. It was the most goals scored in a game for Colorado in more than a month.
“We’ve been sticking with it and tonight we got rewarded for the hard work,” Landeskog said.
Clayton Keller and Ilya Lyubushkin — with his first NHL goal — scored for Arizona. Antti Raanta made 35 saves.
Colorado won the opener 3-2 on Friday night. The Avalanche knocked the Coyotes out of the playoffs last season in five games.
Arizona got off to a much better offensive start against Colorado than the night before, when it managed just 10 shots through the first two periods. The Coyotes outshot the Avalanche 9-7 in the first and had a few good chances to score, including Phil Kessel’s shot that hit the right post and bounced away.
MacKinnon opened the scoring with 7:44 left in the first period when he beat Raanta with a wrister to the top right corner of the net. Raanta was playing in just his fourth game this season.
Colorado started the second period with an offensive flurry, putting 10 shots on goal in the first four minutes but couldn’t put anything in the net. Arizona tied it late in the period when Keller deflected a pass from Niklas Hjalmarsson past Grubauer.
Colorado answered three minutes later when MacDonald wrapped around the back of the net and slipped the puck past Raanta for a 2-1 lead. It was MacDonald’s second goal of his career.
Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet criticized his team after Friday’s loss, saying it had too many “passengers” who weren’t contributing. He said the effort was much better Saturday, even if the results were not.
“I thought we played hard tonight. It was hard to sustain,” Tocchet said. “They’re a good hockey club. There were pockets of the game where the MacKinnon line had the puck in our end and they’re very talented. One of the best lines in the league, but for the most part, I thought guys really tried. They worked hard.”
The Avalanche pulled ahead 3-1 early in the third on a power-play goal by Landeskog, who corralled a rebound and smacked it into the net. Donskoi, Jost and Bellemare all scored later in the third.
“Arizona came out and they played hard. They were after us right away after the drop of the puck,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “But I thought we kept our composure.”
Colorado dominated offensively in the final two periods and finished with a 41-24 advantage in shots.
The Avalanche played in front of fans the past two nights for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March.
It might have technically been a road game for Colorado, but it didn’t feel that way considering the majority of the 3,224 fans in attendance seemed to be wearing Avalanche gear.
“It was amazing being back in front of fans, especially seeing how many Avs fans were here,” Landeskog said. “I never thought I’d say 3,000 people in an NHL building would be electric but that’s what it felt like the past couple games.”
Coyotes trainer Dave Zenobi worked his 2,000 professional hockey game on Saturday night. He was honored before the game with a framed jersey that had a 2,000 on it. … Arizona’s Conor Garland missed the game with a lower-body injury. He leads the team with 19 points. It was the first game he’s missed this season. …
Avalanche: At San Jose on Monday night.
Coyotes: At Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
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