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GAME STORY: Avalanche 5, Devils 2

Rantanen notched a hat trick as the Avalanche downed the Devils by three

by Chris Wescott /

NEWARK, NJ - A second-period surge lifted the visiting Avalanche to a lead they'd keep in a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. The Devils saw their win streak snapped at three games.

"It wasn't a good second period," said Devils forward Kyle Palmieri. "We got away from our game, sloppy and a little loose. That's a good team over there and they made us pay."

The first period was an evenly matched affair with the Devils outshooting Colorado 12-10. With less than two minutes to go in the period, the Avalanche got the puck past Mackenzie Blackwood. However, it was batted in with a high-stick and was ruled a no-goal.





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While the first period was even, the second tilted the game in Colorado's favor.

Mikko Rantanen struck first at 11:23 of the middle frame, stepping into a shot at the face-off dot. The snipe was assisted by Samuel Girard.

Ian Cole put the Avalanche up 2-0 at 15:34 of the second. Cole's goal came off an offensive zone face-off draw and on a shot through traffic. Vladislav Kamenev and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare recorded the helpers.

The third period picked up where the second left off with Rantanen extending Colorado's lead to 3-0. The talented forward danced through the Devils defense and buried his second of the game.

Blake Coleman was the man to change the tide, even for a short time. Coleman scored on a shorthanded rush up the left wing at 6:36 of the third for his 13th of the season, which made the game 3-1.

With 6:11 left, Bellemare scored to make it a 4-1 game. However, Blackwood was tripped behind the Devils net by Matt Calvert who skated across the goalie, clipping him. It was challenged by Devils Interim Coach Alain Nasreddine for goalie interference. After a lengthy review, it was ruled a good goal, which left many in the building scratching their heads.

"I don't know," said Palmieri. "They said it was incidental contact. That was basically the gist of it."

"They said it was incidental contact and I guess that's not a penalty," Nasreddine said of the play. "That's the explanation they gave us."

A furious Wayne Simmonds would be ejected from the game.

Jesper Boqvist tipped a shot for a goal with 1:23 remaining to make it a 4-2 game.

Rantanen finished off his hat trick with the empty-netter late.

"The call is the call, but they were the better team," said Nasreddine. "For some reason, tonight we didn't have it. We didn't really play to our style of play. We never really gave us a chance… it just wasn't good enough."

The Devils will next face the New York Islanders at home on Tuesday night.

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