Finally, the bounces seemed to go the Colorado Avalanche’s way.
“We didn’t reinvent the wheel tonight,” said Colorado defenseman Kyle Quincey
. “We just won our battles and got a lot of bounces our way and got our speed going. Things were clicking. The last couple of games things weren’t clicking, but tonight everything clicked.”
Quincey finished with two assists and the Avalanche scored three first-period goals to top the New Jersey Devils 6-1 on Wednesday night at Pepsi Center.
The Avs’ three first period tallies tie a season high for goals in the opening stanza. They also scored three goals in the first on Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh.
opened the scoring at 7:37 of the period and TJ Galiardi
and Jan Hejda
quickly followed to give Colorado an early cushion and stun New Jersey.
“The first period was a bad period for us. We just got outworked all over the rink,” Devils captain Zach Parise said. “We were getting stripped of the puck all the time. We couldn’t get out of our zone and they were winning every single race to the puck. Next thing we know, we are down 3-0.”
After a slow start in the opening frame, Colorado found its legs in the middle of the period, beating New Jersey to pucks and forechecking effectively.
“We have a great young team that skates well and if we use our speed and we get under their D, that will force them to turn over pucks and that is exactly what happened,” said Ryan O’Reilly
, who tied a season and career high with three points. “If we do that every night, we will have a good chance of winning some hockey games.”
The Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk cut the lead to 3-1 with a goal in the middle of the second period, but the Avs answered with three more goals in the third from O’Reilly, Jay McClement
and Stefan Elliott
“Coach came in and said, ‘It doesn’t matter if we are up by a couple goals or not, we don’t change the way we play,’” said Quincey of what was said in the locker room during the second intermission. “It is human nature to sit back and try and protect the lead. He said, ‘Just keep skating and keep being assertive,’ and that’s what we did.”
For Elliott, it’s his second goal in three games and third straight game with a point. He is the first Avalanche player to collect points in each of his first three NHL games since Radim Vrbata in November of 2001. Elliott is the first defenseman in Colorado Avalanche history to open his NHL career with points in three straight games.
The Avalanche improved to 6-1-0 overall and 2-0-0 at home against Eastern Conference teams this season. Colorado continues its homestand on Friday, when the St. Louis Blues come to Pepsi Center at 7 p.m. Notes
Colorado has won its last three games against the Devils and is 7-3-1 in its last 11 games versus New Jersey.
The Avalanche finished with 479 shots in November, falling just one shy of their franchise record for shots-on-goal in a single month (480 in March of 2004)…Colorado averaged 34.2 shots-per-game in its 14 November contests.
Colorado’s six goals tonight were its most in a home game this season and equaled its second-highest total in any game (season high is seven on Oct. 13 at Ottawa).
The Avs went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill tonight have killed off a season-high 14 straight short-handed situations.
Ryan O’Reilly tied his season and career high with three points…It was his third career 3-point game and second this season (Oct. 13 vs. Ottawa). Jan Hejda
scored his third goal of the season, leaving him just two shy of his career high set last year with Columbus (5 in 77 games).
Hejda, Gabriel Landeskog
and O’Reilly all finished a season-best +3, which was also the highest mark by an Avalanche player so far in 2011-12. Matt Duchene
finished with a team-high 12 points (7g/5a) in November. Milan Hejduk
and Ilya Kovalchuk both scored tonight…Since 1999-2000, Hejduk ranks fourth among all NHL players with 351 goals, while Kovalchuk is third with 374…Jarome Iginla (429) and Marian Hossa (382) are first and second, respectively.