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Game of Firsts in Avalanche Win Over Red Wings

Michael Hutchinson makes debut as Colorado defeats Detroit for the sixth straight time

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

DETROIT--Goaltender Michael Hutchinson celebrated his 30th birthday with a win in his first start with a new team.

"It was definitely a great birthday present, getting the two points," Hutchinson said.

Acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline from the Toronto Maple Leafs a week earlier, Hutchinson stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced to help backstop the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Monday night.

Hutchinson is the fifth goaltender to win a game for the Avalanche this season, marking the first time since the club moved to Denver in 1995 that it has had that many keepers pick up a victory. The franchise only had two previous campaigns in its history to feature at least five goalies seeing action, with 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques being the only other team to see five netminders be victorious (the Nordiques also used five goalies in 1990-91).

Colorado had to play from behind early on as the Red Wings' Anthony Mantha opened the game's scoring at 5:48, burying a rebound during a scramble in the low slot. It ended up being the only puck that got past the Barrie, Ontario, native as Hutchinson denied the final 15 shots he faced.

"For myself after that, it was just taking a deep breath and getting back to the basics, like getting back to the post, just little keys I have during the game for myself," Hutchinson said. "It's unfortunate to give up the first one, but the guys battled really hard after that, and we were able to get the win and hold onto it."

Video: COL@DET: Hutchinson thwarts Mantha's breakaway

Hutchinson received support from two teammates who are also recent additions to the Avs and produced a couple of firsts in their own right as well.

Vladislav Namestnikov scored his first goal in an Avalanche uniform to knot the contest at 1-1, and Logan O'Connor tallied on a breakaway in the second period in what resulted as the game-winning tally, the first of his career.

"Guys are stepping in and they are playing hard," said Avs head coach Jared Bednar. "They are playing hard for one another, and they want to keep this thing going. It's the next man up attitude and mentality that our team has. The points are valuable and we want them, and we're finding a way."

Namestnikov was also acquired at the trade deadline in a separate deal with the Ottawa Senators and was playing in his fourth game with the Avalanche. Hanging around the Detroit crease, Namestnikov kicked a loose puck onto his stick and then whacked it across the goal line to even the score midway through the opening frame.

Video: COL@DET: Namestnikov scores first goal with Avalanche

"I thought he made an impact for us tonight," Bednar said of the Colorado newcomer. "Not just on the goal, but hounding pucks down on the forecheck and involved being physical. To get that one when he is hanging around the net, gets rewarded for going to the net, was nice."

O'Connor's marker came on a breakaway as Gabriel Landeskog passed the puck up to the rookie at the blueline before receiving a crushing hit from Detroit's Robby Fabbri.

The Avalanche captain's sacrifice was worth it as O'Connor didn't miss on his 1-on-1 with Red Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier, placing the puck glove-side for his second career NHL marker.

Video: COL@DET: MacKinnon hits milestone on O'Connor's goal

"That was a selfless play. That is why he wears the 'C' obviously," said O'Connor, who was recalled from the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles earlier in the week. "It was a great pass by him, great look to set up the whole opportunity there."

The win completed a perfect three-city road trip for the Avs, as they went 3-0-0 and are now on a season-best, seven-game winning streak. It also extended Colorado's winning streak over Detroit to six games, a franchise first.

MACKINNON MILESTONE

Nathan MacKinnon assisted on Logan O'Connor tally and now has 300 career helpers.

The assist was his 488th career point, moving him into a tie with Alex Tanguay for seventh place on the franchise's all-time scoring list and fourth place in Avs history.

MacKinnon now has 86 points on the season, recording 33 goals and 53 assists.

MAKAR MISSES GAME

Cale Makar was a late scratch due to an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.

Makar, who is second among all rookies in scoring with 47 points (12 goals, 35 assists) in 56 games, missed eight contests in December with an upper-body injury as well. He leads all first-year players with a 0.94 points-per-game average.

The defenseman joins an ever-growing list of Colorado players being treated in the training room. Andre Burakovsky is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, while Matt Calvert (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Nazem Kadri (lower body) and Mikko Rantanen (upper body) are out a bit longer but should all be back by mid-March.

MORE NOTES

The last six victories of the Avs' seven-game winning streak have all been by one goal. It is the first time since the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise has won six consecutive games by one goal. Colorado is now 13-4-7 in one-goal games this season.

The Avs extended their franchise-record road winning streak to nine games, which is tied for the longest road winning streak of the season (New York Rangers, Jan. 16-Feb. 27). The Avalanche is now 23-9-2 on the road this season, the most road wins of any team in the league

Colorado improved to 20-6-4 against the Eastern Conference this season, its most wins against the East since the 2013-14 campaign (21).

The Avalanche went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and has not surrendered a power-play goal in nine straight games, going a season-best 22-for-22 over that stretch.

Gabriel Landeskog extended his point streak to a season-best five games and has tallied five points (2g/3a) in that span.

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