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Jost Breaks Through for Avs in Carolina

Avalanche forward trusted process through difficult times

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

RALEIGH, N.C.--The scoring opportunities have been there for Tyson Jost recently, but puck luck just seemed like it wasn't on his side.

That changed on Friday as Jost scored twice for the Avalanche in a 3-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena, breaking a 36-game scoring drought in the process.

"It was definitely a relief. I knew it was going to come soon," Jost said. "I'm confident in the player that I am. I know I went through a little bit of a slump, but I knew it was going to go in. Trust my work and trust my abilities. It was awesome, I'm not going to lie. It did feel really good."

Jost got off the schneid 6:34 into the first period, taking a loose puck at the blue line and then scoring on a 2-on-1 with linemate J.T. Compher flanking him on the left side. His wrist shot that went top corner was his first marker since Nov. 30 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"J.T., he's a righty so he was open for the one-timer there," Jost recalled of the sequence. "I opened up to pass it to him and the D kind of bit on the pass, left my shot lane open, so I decided to take it. Honestly, I trust my shot."

Video: COL@CAR: Jost rips wrister from circle after turnover

The forward recorded his fourth multi-goal game of this career with 7:09 remaining in the middle frame, taking a pass from Cale Makar before driving to the high crease and tallying after the puck went between the pads of goaltender Anton Forsberg. His last two-plus goal outing was Oct. 19 at the Tampa Bay Lightning when he recorded his first career hat trick.

Jost now has points in back-to-back contests after registering an assist on the game-winning goal on Wednesday versus the Buffalo Sabres.

Video: COL@CAR: Jost tucks in second goal after Makar set-up

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar has said several times recently that Jost was doing a lot of good things in games, but he just hadn't been able to mark the scoresheet yet. He finally found success.

"I think the only thing that's been missing from Jost's game over the last few weeks is obviously the finish," Bednar said. "To see him get rewarded tonight after getting a couple of chances is great."

The tallies ended up being key goals in a tight game, as the Avs held onto a lead for most of the night while the Hurricanes finished with a 47-32 edge in shots.

Video: Tyson Jost after his two-goal game in Carolina

Jost said it was no doubt a tough time for him over the past few months, but he remained positive throughout the drought and trusted his abilities.

"No player wants to go through that." Jost said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I want to be the best player I can be and sort of contribute to this team. I think it's even more frustrating when you feel like you're doing all the right things, and it's just not going in for you. It definitely weighs on you, but it definitely helped me mature. I'm sure I became a better player, person, whatever you want to call it, over this little stretch. I don't want to be satisfied, I want to keep going here and keep producing."

FREAKY FAST FRANCOUZ

Pavel Francouz stopped 45-of-47 shots to win his fifth straight game. He set new career highs with his saves and shots against and has a 1.18 goals-against average and .961 save percentage during his five-game streak.

"We got a little puck luck around our net, puck just missing the net, and Frankie was good," Bednar said. "I mean your goaltender has got to be a big part of it. Obviously winning now, Frankie has done a real nice job."

Video: Francouz after making 45 saves in Carolina

Trailing 1-0 in the first period, Carolina came out hard in the middle frame and bombarded Francouz and the Avs with 18 shots on goal. None of them went in.

Francouz was making his sixth consecutive start while Philipp Grubauer is out with a lower-body injury suffered on Feb. 15 against the Los Angeles Kings. Overall, he's tied for second in the league in save percentage (.929) and ranks fifth in goals-against average (2.25).

GAME-WINNING GIRARD

Samuel Girard scored his first career game-winning goal after finding twine off a pass from Gabriel Landeskog with 2:37 remaining in the outing.

"A goal like that at the end is huge, but that was a nice play by Gabe," Girard said. "I just tried to find open space there. It was a nice look by him."

Video: COL@CAR: Girard roofs Landeskog's feed for late goal

Girard now has four goals on the season, equaling his career high set in 2018-19. He also added an assist and now has 32 points on the campaign.

With fellow rear guard Cale Makar having 46 points (12 goals and 34 assists) on the year, Girard helped the Avalanche join some exclusive company. Colorado is the first team with two defenseman under age 22 with 30-plus points since 1993-94 when the Los Angeles Kings' Alexei Zhitnik (52 points) and Darryl Sydor (35 points) accomplished the feat.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Avalanche has won seven straight road games, tying a franchise record for the longest road winning streak. Colorado last accomplished the feat on Jan. 10-Feb. 7, 1999.

Maybe making the Avs' recent road success more impressive is that they've done it in close games, as each of their last five victories have been by a one-goal margin.

"I think it says that we're ready to play on the road." Francouz noted of the team's road streak. "We're not scared to make plays, we're not afraid of the opponent."

After 32 road contests this season, Colorado has recorded the most points in the league with 34 and is tied with the Washington Capitals for the most wins with 21.

"I don't really know, but I do know this, we've improved in that area over the time that I've been here when I first came in," said Bednar on why the team has had so much success away from Pepsi Center this season. "Over the last few years, we've been a really good home team, and we wanted to improve on the road. That was a goal of ours at the start of the year, to try and push for the division, the conference, and in order to do that we have to get better on the road. Certainly this year we're getting better results in our games. We've been looking on the road more like it does at home, which is more energized and more disciplined."

Video: Avs head coach Jared Bednar after the win in Carolina

MORE NOTES

Colorado is 10-3-1 in the month of February, equaling its most wins in the month in franchise history (also: Quebec in 1981 and Colorado in 2003).

The Avs are 13-3-1 over their last 17 games and have collected points in 16 of their last 19 outings (13-3-3).

The Avalanche finished 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, the seventh straight game that it hasn't allowed a power-play tally (15-for-15).

Colorado was playing the first half of a back-to-back set, the 11th of 12 such sets this season. The Avalanche is now 8-3-0 in the first contest of consecutive-night series in 2019-20. The squad plays at the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The Avs are now 19-6-4 against the Eastern Conference this season, the most wins by any Western Conference team against the East.

Vladislav Namestnikov notched his first point in an Avalanche sweater since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators in a trade on Monday.

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