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Depth Displayed in Win at Senators

Four different Avs score in Colorado's 30th win of the season

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

OTTAWA, Ontario--The Colorado Avalanche knows that in order to have success, it needs offensive production and a defensive focus throughout its entire lineup every game.

The club's depth came through on Thursdaay night, as each line helped produce a goal against the Ottawa Senators. The Avalanche had four different goal scorers and won 4-1 against the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

"That is going to be important, especially down the stretch," veteran forward Nazem Kadri said of the club's balanced scoring. "I think if we want to be a successful team, we can't rely on one guy or one line. I think the secondary scorers take pride in that and just try to help this team win. These are games we definitely need that depth scoring."

The Avalanche improved to 2-1-0 on its current five-game road trip and 16-9-2 on the road this season, the third-most road victories in the NHL and the best road record in the Western Conference.

Overall, the Avs are now 30-16-6, the fifth fastest Colorado team to reach 30 wins (52 games). Both the 2000-01 and 2013-14 teams required 47 contests, the 1996-97 club needed 50 outing and 2009-10 squad hit the mark at 51 games.

Video: Avalanche coach Jared Bednar after the win in Ottawa

"I liked our game tonight, no passengers on the bench, D-corps was all involved, all of our lines played pretty well," said head coach Jared Bednar postgame. "Got a little fancy at times I thought, the simplicity of our game--you know, move it, shoot it--early on was real effective for us, gave us our best scoring chances when we put pucks in on the forecheck. We were tenacious on pucks to turn them over and create some more scoring opportunities. When we got fancy, it kind of hurt us and we started going the other way, but for the most part, real good intentions from our whole group tonight."

Valeri Nichushkin got the Avs on the board in the first with his 10th goal of the year after forcing an Ottawa turnover. He has been skating on a line with Kadri and Andre Burakovsky since Jan. 10 and subsequently the trio has combined for 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in eight games.

Video: COL@OTT: Nichushkin wires home opening wrist shot

The threesome was formed when Joonas Donskoi was injured on Jan. 7, but Bednar kept them together once Donskoi returned to game action. Donskoi has now played in three games since recovering from his head injury ,and he was on a line with Matt Calvert and J.T. Compher against the Sens. With Colorado's top grouping of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen remaining intact, the final line consisted of Matt Nieto, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Tyson Jost, a combo that tallied the game-winning goal.

"I think that is just the best thing about this team. We are all sort of interchangeable and different guys could step up and play with whoever," said Nieto, who scored. "It speaks a lot about the depth of our team. It was fun playing with those two guys tonight, and tonight is definitely something to build off."

Video: COL@OTT: Nieto puts home one-timer on the rush

In addition to its offensive play, Colorado also limited Ottawa's chances in the first period, and the Senators didn't record their first shot on goal until 18:18 of the opening frame while on a power play.  

"We had some guys do some good things on the defensive side of it," Bednar said. "When we had breakdowns, or they slipped in behind us or they made some plays, we got some good blocks. A couple plays with some real good sticks breaking things up. Even on some of the plays in the first period that looked dangerous, we found a way to keep them off the net which was nice."

The Avalanche is now 5-1-0 in its last six games, 5-1-2 over its last eight outings and is 14-5-3 against the Eastern Conference this season.

"As many victories as we can get, I am happy with them," said Bednar of the road record. "I think to be able to come out on the road, especially on this [trip]. We played a pretty good game in Philly, didn't like the result, and to be able to bounce back and take two victories here back-to-back is good. Now we got to keep it going for two more before we head home."

Colorado wraps up its five-game road swing with outings at the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild on Saturday and Sunday.

MORE AVALANCHE NOTES

The Avs have averaged 4.33 goals per game on the road trip and 4.67 goals per game over their last six contests. Colorado's 3.69 goals-per-game average leads the NHL.

Andre Burakovsky notched an assist to reach the 40-point threshold for the first time in his career. Burakovsky's 23 assists equals his career high set with Washington during the 2016-17 campaign. He also extended his point streak to six games and has registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in that span.

Matt Nieto recorded his third game-winning goal of the season, surpassing his career best of two game-winners during the 2013-14 season with the San Jose Sharks.

Valeri Nichushkin tallied his 10th goal of the season, his most in a campaign since his rookie year in 2013-14 with Dallas (14).

Cale Makar finished with two points (one goal, one assist) for his eighth multi-point game of the season. His 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists) are tied with Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes for the rookie scoring lead.

With an assist, Mikko Rantanen extended his point streak to five games, collecting six points (two goals, four assists) in that stretch.

Nathan MacKinnon tallied an assist and now has 14 points (5g/9a) in 13 career games against the Senators.

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