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Landeskog's Surge Continues at MSG

by Scott Ward / Colorado Avalanche
Gabriel Landeskog extended his point streak to seven games Tuesday in New York on a goal that, at the time, seemed like it might stem the tide in the Avalanche’s favor at historic Madison Square Garden.

Gabriel Landeskog
PAST 21 GAMES -- Since DEC. 23
Goals: 8 | Assists: 14 | Pts: 22
Shots: 48 | +/-: 7
The Avs’ captain scored on the power play 6:37 into the second period with Colorado down 2-0, and it gave his squad some road momentum after it withstood an onslaught in the first period that had the Rangers up 20-4 in shots.

Landeskog had a career-high eight-game point streak (three goals, eight assists) from Dec. 23 to Jan. 8, so he’s a game shy of setting and matching a career high all within the span of a month.

He's the first Avalanche player to have two point streaks of at least seven games in the same season since Andrew Brunette had streaks of 11 and eight games in the 2006-07 season.

Keep tabs on that as this trip moves to Philadelphia on Thursday.

But back to Tuesday: Landeskog scored his 17th of the season, just five shy of a career high, following a terrific passing sequence that started at the blue line with defenseman Tyson Barrie and ended with the puck whizzing by New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Stastny won a faceoff in the Avs zone at 6:31, and the puck slid out to Barrie, who skated back toward the blue line before pushing it back to Stastny on the left wall.

Stastny—who was back in the lineup for the first time in three games after he suffered an ankle injury Jan. 30 against Minnesota—surveyed the scene and quickly directed a pass toward MacKinnon on the goal line.

MacKinnon flicked it toward Landeskog in the slot, and that was that.

Lundqvist was there and in position, but the shot was past him before he knew it. The play was a clinic in team passing.

An interesting side note here is that Lundqvist and Landeskog will be two of Sweden’s top players next week at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Team Sweden is coming off a victory at the 2013 IIHF World Championship and much is expected of it in this year’s Games.

Landeskog’s goal was about the only bright spot for Colorado (36-15-5) in this one, though.

The Rangers responded 53 seconds later to go back ahead 3-1, and Colorado wasn’t able to capitalize on 1:50 of 5-on-3 late in the second period.

The loss ended the Avs’ four-game winning streak, and coach Patrick Roy pointed to the game’s first 20 minutes when asked the common question, “What went wrong?” in his postgame interview.

New York (31-23-3) turned its first-period shots advantage into a 43-28 lead after the final horn, and it has now outshot opponents in 20 of its past 26 games.

The Avs are an impressive 23-6-3 this season when being outshot, but for a team playing the second leg of a back-to-back, and its third game in four days, a strong first period was likely the key to the game.

That didn’t happen.

“We talk a lot about the start of the game is key, but the Rangers came out flying, and they got the momentum from the first shift and then kept it until the end of the first,” he said. “They played a really good game. They were sharp. They were the better team on the ice, without a doubt.”


- The Avs had won four straight before Tuesday’s loss and are now 10-2-0 in their past 12 games, 10-3-1 in their last 14 and 13-4-1 in their last 18.

The Avs, who fell on the road for just the second time in eight games (6-2-0), are 17-8-2 away from home this year (.666). They led the NHL in road winning percentage before Tuesday’s game.

Colorado’s four-game, pre-Olympic break road trip continues Thursday in Philadelphia before wrapping up Saturday against the Islanders on Long Island.

Nathan MacKinnon
Center  - COL
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 22 | PTS: 42
SOG: 164 | +/-: 12
- MacKinnon’s primary assist on Landeskog’s power-play score extended his career-high points streak to six games (three goals, five assists). He leads all NHL rookies in goals (20) and assists (22).

- Landeskog has 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in his past 21 games.

- Stastny’s start Tuesday gave him a 517th career NHL appearance. He passed Stephane Yelle for 15th on the franchise's all-time games list.

- Tuesday’s game was the first of two between the Avalanche and Rangers this season. They will meet again in Denver on April 3. The Avs have won three of their past four against the Rangers and are 13-4-0 against them in their past 17 games.


“We jumped on them first, and we got that momentum, and we seemed to roll with it and never really gave it back to them in that first period,” winger Ryan Callahan said. “And we came out of that with a 2-0 lead. In the second I thought they had stretches where they were controlling it, too, but we seemed to weather the storm. They scored, and we scored right back. It was a good bounce back after that goal.”

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