Pavel Francouz made 37 saves, Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, and the streaking Colorado Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Friday night in Denver.
Dec 13, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) drives to the net in the second period against the New Jersey Devils at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin also scored for Colorado, which is 8-0-1 in its past nine games.
Mirco Mueller scored and Louis Domingue had 15 saves before leaving midway through the second period for New Jersey, which is 0-6-1 since winning at Montreal on Nov. 28. Mackenzie Blackwood stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief of Domingue.
The Devils got center Nico Hischier back from an illness that forced him out of the last three games, but leading scorer Taylor Hall was scratched just before the game for “precautionary reasons,” the team announced.
With New Jersey struggling this season, Hall’s name has been circulated in trade rumors of late.
Colorado played again without defenseman Cale Makar, who sat with an upper-body injury for the third straight game, but goaltender Philipp Grubauer was back on the bench. He missed the previous two games with a lower-body injury but suited up and served as Francouz’s backup.
The Avalanche got two power-play chances in the first period and cashed in on the second one. They worked the puck around the New Jersey zone, and MacKinnon fed a soft pass to the slot to Landeskog, who one-timed it past Domingue at 11:37. It was Landeskog’s sixth of the season.
Nichushkin made it 2-0 in the second period when he carried the puck into the Devils’ zone and beat Domingue with a snap shot from the top of the right circle at 7:56. It was his sixth of the season and extended his points streak to a career-high four games.
Mueller spoiled Francouz’s shutout bid when he scored his first of the season at 15:48 of the third.
Blackwood came off for an extra skater in the final minute, and MacKinnon scored into the empty net with 32 seconds left.
—Field Level Media