The Colorado Avalanche's top line got the team started but the squad's depth used that as momentum as the Avs went on to pick up a 5-4 victory against the Minnesota Wild.
Down 1-0 at the first intermission, Nathan MacKinnon scored 18 seconds into the second period and three other Avs found the back of the net in the frame. In total, Colorado had five different skaters from three different lines hit twine before the final buzzer on Monday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"That's the plan for us to be a four-line team and have everyone contributing and when we are doing that we are tough to play against," said J.T. Compher. "We are able to just roll it over, keep the momentum going, and that's kind of what you saw in the second period. When everyone's going, we are tough to beat."
Compher tipped a Cale Makar shot to tally his fifth goal of the year in the middle stanza, Colorado's final marker of the period. In addition to MacKinnon and Compher, Andre Burakovsky and Brandon Saad also scored in the middle 20 minutes, and the Avs finished with a 20-5 edge in shots on goal in the frame. Gabriel Landeskog recorded the eventual game-winner on the power play in the third.
Video: COL@MIN: Compher scores in 2nd period
The Avalanche has recorded 20 or more shots in seven periods this season, the most by any team in the NHL. The next closest is the Florida Panthers with four such stanzas.
Burakovsky's goal was his 10th of the year, becoming the seventh Colorado skater with 10 or more markers this season. The Avs are tied with Florida for the most 10-goal scorers in the NHL so far this campaign.
Video: COL@MIN: Burakovsky cleans up in front for goal
The victory extended the Avalanche's point streak to 15 games, the second-longest in franchise history and one short of the club record. The 2000-01 Avs went 16 consecutive contests with a point from Dec. 27, 2000-Jan. 30, 2001 (12-0-4).
Over the 15-game stretch, Colorado has outscored its opponent by a combined 67-28 margin (plus-39) and has nine players with 10 or more points.
"You have to have the balanced scoring," said head coach Jared Bednar. "We know what our top guys are capable of. They will run into games when they get shut down or things don't go their way or goalies make some saves on them, but the more you can keep playing your team game and keep going at other teams in waves with guys that are scoring and feeling good about their games and are confident, the better off you are going to be. The depth is huge. To have those guys spread out like that scoring goals is really important, it's part of the reason why we are on the run we're on."
Colorado is now 5-1-1 against Minnesota this year and the teams will meet for the eighth and final time this regular season on Wednesday.
GRUBAUER SETS FRANCHISE RECORD
Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves to earn the win and improve to 12-0-1 in his last 13 appearances. It established a new Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise record for the longest point streak by a goaltender.
The game was also his 100th start in an Avalanche sweater and 105th appearance with the team, moving past Craig Anderson for the fifth-most games in Avalanche history (since 1995).
In 2020-21, Grubauer leads the NHL in wins (24) and shutouts (five) and ranks first in goals-against average (1.83) and is tied for fourth in save percentage (.926) among netminders who have appeared in at least 10 games. He ranks first in games (32) and second in starts (31-tied).
PLAYMAKER SAM GIRARD
Samuel Girard had the primary assist on Colorado's first two goals, which came on consecutive shifts. He found a streaking Nathan MacKinnon in the neutral zone and sprung him past the Minnesota defenders for his first helper, and just over a minute later Andre Burakovsky put home the rebound from a shot of his.
"Started on the breakout and I saw Nate beating his guy in the middle, so it was a nice play by him," Girard said of his first assist. "It's not hard to make those passes as a D. It was a nice play by Nate."
Video: COL@MIN: MacKinnon rips puck home on breakaway
It was his eighth multi-point game of the season, the most multi-point outings the defenseman has had in a single season in his career. Girard has 30 points (five goals, 25 assists) this year, tied for fifth among NHL blueliners in points and ranking sixth in assists.
"Girard was one of the players in the first period that was using his legs to find solutions on the breakouts, on the neutral zone regroups, and he was pretty good with the puck tonight," said Bednar. "I mean, he made some real good decisions. He gets involved, shot a puck early in the second, helped get us another goal on a rebound opportunity [on Burakovsky's goal]. He did some good things and was part of it on both ends of the rink as well."
BURROUGHS MAKES DEBUT
Defenseman Kyle Burroughs made his NHL debut in the game and finished with three shot attempts, two hits and a fight in 6:17 of ice time.
The Avs acquired the 25-year-old from the New York Islanders on Oct. 30, and the 6-foot, 193-pound blueliner has 17 goals and 66 assists for 83 points in 321 career AHL outings.
"A little bit of a slow start for Burroughs and then as he got a little bit more comfortable and probably the nerves went away, he got better as the game went on," head coach Jared Bednar said postgame. "Picked up his physical play, obviously he gets in the fight--great to see him do well and bring that emotion and energy to our team. I think the guys were excited for him, and any time you get a guy going into his first NHL game and he's able to make an impact like he did tonight I think is a positive, so I thought he was pretty good."
MORE POSTGAME NOTES
Gabriel Landeskog scored his team-leading sixth game-winning goal of the season. It was the 36th of his career and he now has sole possession of the fourth most in Avalanche history, passing Peter Forsberg.
Landeskog is tied for fourth in the NHL (Alex Ovechkin, Leon Draisaitl) in game-winners in 2020-21.
Devon Toews played a career-high 29:48 and equaled his career best with a plus-3 rating, the fourth time this season he has been a plus-3 and the 10th time he has finished plus-2 or better. Toews has a plus-23 rating this season, tied for second in the league (Nathan MacKinnon and Florida's Carter Verhaeghe) and ranks second outright among NHL defensemen.
Nathan MacKinnon (one goal, one assist) extended his point streak to six games and goal streak to three contests. He has collected 10 points (four goals, six assists) over that stretch and his 45 points (14 goals, 31 assists) on the campaign are tied for fifth in the league. MacKinnon's plus-23 rating is tied for second in the NHL and tied for first among league forwards.