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Rapid Recap: Avalanche 6, Sabres 1

Avs score four unanswered to pull away in Buffalo

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

BUFFALO, N.Y.--Andre Burakovsky recorded a career-high four points while registering his fourth straight multi-point game to help the Colorado Avalanche earn a 6-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Tuesday.

Valeri Nichsuhkin (one goal, two assists), Nikita Zadorov (one goal, one assist) and Nazem Kadri (one goal, one assist) had multi-point performances as well in Colorado's win. Samuel Girard and Mikko Rantanen also scored for the Avs, while Ryan Graves, Joonas Donskoi, Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog collected assists.

Makar's helper was his 38th point of the season, setting a new scoring record for a rookie defenseman in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history.

Sam Reinhart scored for Buffalo while Carter Hutton allowed five goals on 13 shots before he was replaced by Jonas Johansson with 9:34 remaining in the second period. The Avalanche tallied four straight in the middle stanza after Reinhart had registered his marker with less than one second remaining in the opening frame.

The Avs will host the Sabres at Pepsi Center to conclude the season series on Feb. 26 at Pepsi Center.

Statistics | Photo Gallery | Highlights | Video: Coach Bednar Postgame

THE GOALS

1st Period
13:12 COL (1-0) - Samuel Girard scored into an open net from the right circle while the Buffalo defense could not locate the puck.
13:57 COL (2-0) - Andre Burakovsky collected the puck from Nazem Kadri in the neutral zone and scored with a shot that went top shelf.
19:59 BUF (2-1) - Jake McCabe fired a shot toward the Avalanche goal, and Sam Reinhart tipped it into the net in the closing seconds of the first period. 

2nd Period
1:00 COL (3-1) - Nazem Kadri took a cross-ice pass from Valeri Nichushkin and scored far side.
4:23 COL (4-1) - Andre Burakovsky found Nikita Zadorov as he was skating into the slot, and Zadorov tallied for the second straight game with a backhander that went five-hole.
10:58 COL (5-1) - Valeri Nichushkin scored his ninth of the year with assists from Cale Makar and Andre Burakovsky.
12:59 COL (6-1) - Mikko Rantanen extended the Colorado lead with a shot that went top shelf during a rush up the ice with Nathan MacKinnon.

3rd Period
No Scoring

Final: Avalanche - 6 | Sabres - 1

3 STARS

  1. Andre Burakovsky (COL): Had a career-high four points
  2. Valeri Nichushkin (COL): Scored and had two assists
  3. Nazem Kadri (COL): Goal, assist, team-high four shots and plus-3 rating

POWER PLAYS

Colorado: 0 for 0
Buffalo: 0 for 2

GOALTENDING BATTLE

Colorado: Philipp Grubauer denied 23-of-24 shots.
Buffalo: Carter Hutton allowed five goals on 13 shots before he was replaced by Jonas Johansson with 9:34 remaining in the second period. Johansson finished the game with 13 saves.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Andre Burakovsky set a new career high with four points in the contest, the fourth game in a row that he has recorded a multi-point outing. The left wing scored and added three assists versus the Sabres, the fourth time in his NHL tenure that he has registered three helpers in an outing. It marked the fifth game in a row that Burakovsky found the scoresheet, and he has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in that span.

His tally was his 17th of the year, tying his career high that he set in 2015-16 with the Washington Capitals. Burakovsky also now has 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) through 48 games this year, setting a new high for a season for the Klagenfurt, Austria, native, who previously had 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) in 79 games in 2015-16.

Burakovsky's goal stood as the game-winning tally, his team-high fifth game-winner of the season.

NOTEBOOK

Cale Makar recorded an assist and now has 38 points on the year, breaking the Quebec Nordiques' Bruce Bell's (1984-85) record for the most by a rookie defenseman in franchise history... Nikita Zadorov extended his career-long point streak to four games with a goal and an assist. His tally was his first against Buffalo, the team that drafted him with the 16th overall pick in 2013… In the last three games of his point streak, Zadorov has recorded multiple points in each outing, the first time he has strung together three multi-point games... Samuel Girard scored his second goal of the year to bring his season point total to 27, which matches his previous best set in 2018-19… Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and two assists, his first three-point game of the season... The Avs are 15-3-0 in their last 18 games against the Sabres dating back to 2006-07... Colorado is 13-5-3 against Eastern Conference opponents this season... The Avs scored six or more goals for the ninth time this season, tied for the most such outings in the league this year (Tampa Bay)... Ryan Graves recorded a career-high plus-4 rating and is now plus-36 this season, tops in the NHL... Graves (+36, first), Ian Cole (+26, T-third) and Valeri Nichushkin (+24, T-fifth) all rank in the top five in the league in plus-minus rating. Nichushkin is tied for first (Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat) among all forwards.

QUOTABLE

Head coach Jared Bednar on the game: "It is an important two points for us. Our goal is not to lose two in a row here down the stretch. We had a tough loss the other night in Philly, so to be able to respond tonight and do a couple things better than we did in Philly I thought was important. I didn't love our start, but we had trouble the other night capitalizing on our chances and tonight I thought we did a nice job. We shot the puck, we had some real good shots, some good decisions, still made some plays off the rush so it was good to capitalize and see our guys gain a little confidence as the game went on."

BIG HIGHLIGHT

Video: COL@BUF: Makar reaches milestone on Nichushkin's goal

IMAGE OF THE GAME

A stick was given.

ROSTER REPORT

Colorado utilized the same forward line combinations and defensive pairings as it did in its previous outing on Saturday at the Philadelphia Flyers… Philipp Grubauer once again started in net, and Mark Barberio and Vladislav Kamenev were the healthy scratches. 

INJURY UPDATE 

Colin Wilson (lower body) remains out while working on his rehab after undergoing two surgeries earlier this season.

UP NEXT 

The Avalanche visits the Ottawa Senators on Thursday before wrapping up its five-game road trip with a back-to-back at the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild on Saturday and Sunday. 

LINE COMBINATIONS 

Based on start of the game

Forwards

92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 91 Nazem Kadri - 95 Andre Burakovsky
11 Matt Calvert - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 37 J.T. Compher
83 Matt Nieto - 17 Tyson Jost - 72 Joonas Donskoi

Defensemen

27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
16 Nikita Zadorov - 28 Ian Cole

Goaltenders

31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

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