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Avalanche Offensive Depth Shines in Vegas

Colorado scored six goals in a game for the third time this year

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche is only 10 games into the 2019-20 season, but the club has already scored six goals in a single outing three times this year.

Friday's contest marked the Avs' most recent occasion as they defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 6-1. Colorado has been getting offensive production throughout its roster, highlighted by having four different players tally in the squad's win at T-Mobile Arena.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare opened the game's scoring just 28 seconds into the matchup. He intercepted a Mark Stone pass and worked towards the net to record Colorado's fastest goal to begin a contest this season.

Video: COL@VGK: Bellemare strikes quickly against old team

It was Bellemare's first time playing against the Golden Knights. He was claimed by Vegas in the NHL Expansion Draft in 2017 and played in 148 of the club's 164 contests in its first two years of existence. He signed a two-year deal with Colorado as a free agent this past summer.

In his first game back in Vegas' barn, the team recognized him with an acknowledgment video in the first period, shortly after he had given the Avs the early lead.

"It was awesome because he is such a great guy and you know he put in some good time here for the Knights, and as you see the fans give him the ovation in the break and they do the little tribute," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said of Bellemare. "For him to come out and start the game that way and get rewarded from some hard work, it really just set a tone for our whole team for the game."

Video: COL@VGK: Calvert beats Sparks to extend lead

Later in the contest, his work ethic continued to shine as he added two assists, setting a new career high with three points in an outing. Both of his helpers were on Matt Calvert's tallies; it was Calvert's fourth multi-goal outing of his career and his first since Feb. 17, 2015. His second came at the end of the contest as Colorado was killing a penalty for his first short-handed goal as a member of the Avalanche and the seventh of his career. 

Calvert wasn't the only member of the Avalanche to light the lamp twice in the matchup though, as Nazem Kadri registered the 23rd multi-goal game of his career--and his first with Colorado.

Both of Kadri's markers came in the second period, with rookie defenseman Cale Makar recording his first regular-season NHL goal between the two. Makar now has nine points to start the 2019-20 campaign, the most points in October by any first-year rear guard in Colorado's history (since 1995-96).

Video: COL@VGK: Makar scores first regular-season NHL goal 

In addition to the goal scorers, Nathan MacKinnon registered two assists, becoming the first player in Avalanche history to register points in 10 straight games to begin a season. He leads the team with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through the club's first 10 contests of the year. 

"I mean we have seen how he can dominate games at times, and I think he has been good," Bednar said of MacKinnon. "What is impressive for me is if you asked him how his game has been, he would be happy with it but not real happy with it and he started the [season] on a 10-game point streak. It is amazing that you can do that and maybe not even be at your best. That is a positive sign for me. When he is able to contribute in ways, and even in smaller ways away from the puck, and he is putting an importance on that, I think it is great because when he does get going, we know that he is going to fill the back of the net."

Video: COL@VGK: MacKinnon sets up Kadri for PPG

The win improved Colorado's record to 8-1-1 (17 points) to begin the year, matching the team's fourth-best record through 10 games in franchise history (also 1985-86). 

"I think we played 60 minutes, I think that is the first 60-minute game we have had this year," Bellemare said of the win. "It felt like we controlled the game pretty well. We had a few turnovers, but all in all I think we had a really solid game."

SHUFFLING COMBINATIONS

With Mikko Rantanen out of the lineup with a lower-body injury, J.T. Compher began the game on Colorado's top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.

"It is tough to just fill Mikko's spot in our roster with one guy and that other guys will have to step up and will have to sort of pick up that slack by committee," said Bednar. "But, I thought Compher did a nice job in there and we have Burakovsky on that line for a couple shifts too and he was good. It is nice to see that we have some players that are able to step in and help those guys."

In addition to the forward combinations, Bednar split up the defensive pairing of Cale Makar and Nikita Zadorov. Makar started the contest with Ian Cole while Zadorov skated with Ryan Graves. 

"I liked it a lot," said Bednar of the Makar-Cole pairing. "I think the best game that we have seen from Cale in a handful of games. I thought he looked more relaxed, he was using his legs and skating. I think that was a real good pair for us there tonight." 

Video: Coach Bednar after the 6-1 win in Vegas

MORE AVALANCHE NOTES

The Avalanche has now scored five or more goals in a game for the fifth time this season, the first time since 1992-93 that Colorado has five or more games with five-plus goals through its first 10 contests of a campaign. The 1992-93 club had six games with five-plus goals through its first 10 outings. 

Colorado is now 6-0-1 when scoring first this season.

This is the second of 12 back-to-back sets for the Avalanche this season. Colorado is now 2-0-0 in the first game of such sets. The team hsts the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. 

Erik Johnson played his 524th game as a member of the Avalanche, surpassing John-Michael Liles to take sole possession of second place in games played by an Avalanche defenseman. 

It was the Avalanche's first-ever win in Vegas. Prior to the contest, neither team had won on the road in the previous six games of the all-time series.

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