The Colorado Avalanche saw many of its streaks continue as it defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 at Pepsi Center on Saturday afternoon.
Defenseman Tyson Barrie played a key role in helping Colorado stretch its unbeaten streak to seven outings (4-0-3) as he scored and added an assist in the contest, extending his personal point streak to six games--matching a career high he set earlier this season. He has four goals and five assists in his last six outings and has registered 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in his last 10 games.
"I just try to play consistently and try to play the right way every night," said Barrie. "Obviously, part of my game is jumping into the play and creating some offense. It's been going well lately, so I am just going to try and continue to do that. And obviously, playing with these guys, Mikko [Rantanen], Nate [MacKinnon], Gabe [Landeskog], we got some skill in this room. It makes it easy on me."
Barrie's goal in the first period was his 10th goal of the season, and he became the fourth defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques franchise history to score 10 or more goals in four different seasons. His 57 career goals give him sole possession of fourth place on the franchise's all-time list for goals scored by a blueliner.
Video: Tyson Barrie after Avs win over the Coyotes
"It was a great play by Nate just to go through the seam," said Barrie. "I was originally going to try and look to find a high tip or something, but it bobbled on me so I didn't have much of a choice, so I just tried to get a good puck on net and luckily it found its way through."
The Victoria, British Columbia, native also assisted on rookie forward Tyson Jost's power-play goal in the third period, the seventh consecutive game the Avs have recorded a man-advantage tally. The club is 12-for-37 with the extra man over its last 10 games.
"Great setup up top of the power play, a couple guys going to the hard areas," said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar. "If I remember correctly, Landeskog goes to the net, Rantanen comes to the net after the feed up top to Barrie. The shot comes in there and Jost--because of our numbers in that scoring area and getting to the front of the net--skilled play to pick it out of the air. But that what happens, you go to the right areas and you have the right players and the numbers in there, you're going to get some chances at pucks. It was a good power-play goal for us."
Nathan MacKinnon also saw his point streak extend to eight games with an assist on Barrie's goal. It was his 80th point of the season, and he became the first Avalanche player to reach the 80-point mark since 2006-07 when Joe Sakic had 100 and Andrew Brunette had 83.
He also assisted on Mikko Rantanen's goal to record his 23rd multi-point game of the season, the most by an Avs player since Sakic had 28 in 2006-07.
"I don't think the goalie really knew where the puck went and it went right behind the net and Nathan was first there, made a nice pass right away," Rantanen said of his goal. "He didn't wait a second, just gave it to me right away and the goalie couldn't get there and the puck was rolling a little bit so it was easier to lift it up."
Video: Bednar after the Avs' 5-2 win versus the Coyotes
The Avalanche has now collected at least a point in its last seven games and improved to 24-8-2 on home ice this season, including sporting a 14-1-1 mark in its last 16 at Pepsi Center.
"We're in dog fight. I've said it before, this is essentially our playoffs," said Bednar. "We have to play playoff hockey. I like the fact that that is the case for our group. Where we're at as a team, for our kids to have to fight for every inch of ice and the importance of every play and every shift and every game, I think that is something our guys need to go through at this level.
"They've all been through it at different levels, so I like that. And what our chances are, it depends how we keep playing. You keep playing, it's points in seven straight and we probably stole a point the other night in Columbus that we didn't deserve. We played well enough to win tonight and we'll reset and get back at it. I think it's going to be a fight till the finish."
Jonathan Bernier earned his ninth straight win at home, matching the record for the longest home winning streak by a goaltender in Avalanche/Nordiques history (Dan Bouchard, 1983-84).
The contest was the first Bernier has played in since missing 10 games with a head injury, but he wasn't able to finish it. About midway through the third frame, he left for the locker room and was replaced by Semyon Varlamov.
"[Bernier] took the slap shot to the head, I think is what they said. Kind of rung his bell a little bit there," said Bednar. "I think early in the second period, the [Oliver] Ekman-Larsson slap shot that hit him square. Had a sore neck, and that is basically all I know from there. Whether he had a headache or anything like that after, I don't know. I didn't talk to the trainers. They said he was going to the locker room, and I was concentrating on Varly getting in there."
Bernier, who was the goalie of record, made 22 saves through 46:47 of ice time, and Varlamov stopped all four shots he faced in the Avs' victory.
SODERBERG'S CONTINUED SUCCESS
Veteran forward Carl Soderberg scored and added an assist to record his ninth multi-point game of the season. His tally was the eventual game-winner, the third he has notched this campaign.
He has eight points (four goals, four assists) over his last six games and four points in the last two contests. Soderberg has centered a line with wingers Blake Comeau and Matt Nieto for much of the season, and the trio combined for four points against Arizona.
"That line has been great for us all year," said Barrie. "It's been consistent. It's been great secondary scoring. I think the last few games especially they've really stepped up and got it going. When they're going, I like the look of our team."
The Avalanche recalled defenseman David Warsofksy from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League on Friday, and he was paired with Duncan Siemens in the game against the Coyotes.
He had three shot attempts in 15:28 of ice time and assisted on Rantanen's tally. It was his first point in an Avalanche sweater and seventh game with Colorado since signing as a free agent last summer.
The blueliner is in his first campaign with the Avalanche organization and has 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in 47 games with San Antonio this season.
The Avs are now 4-4-2 in afternoon games this season, including a 3-1-1 mark on home ice. Saturday's game was the fifth of seven matinee contests at Pepsi Center this season, and the second of four during the month of March.
Colorado's seven home day games this year equal the most in Avalanche history (also 1998-99 and 2002-03).
The Avs have a total of 12 afternoon games in 2017-18, the club's most daytime tilts since 2008-09 when it also had 12.