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game recap

Burakovsky's four points boost Avalanche past Sabres

Has goal, three assists for Colorado, which wins for fourth time in five games

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

Burakovsky's top-shelf wrister

COL@BUF: Burakovsky roofs wrist shot on rush

Andre Burakovsky skates in on the rush and wires a wrist shot into the top shelf to double the Avalanche's lead to 2-0

  • 00:34 •

BUFFALO -- Andre Burakovsky had a goal and three assists for the Colorado Avalanche in a 6-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Tuesday.

"I think I've been fitting in pretty good with this team. I like everyone and everyone's been good to me, so that helps. I'm feeling comfortable here," said Burakovsky, whose 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in his first season with Colorado are an NHL career high. "Just tonight, I think our line (with center Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin) had a good game. We're taking care of the opportunities we got. When we got one, we put it in the back of the net, and that doesn't happen too often, so good job by everyone in here."

Nichushkin had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche (29-16-6), who have won four of their past five games and lead the Nashville Predators by seven points for third place in the Central Division. Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves.

The Sabres (23-23-7) have lost four of five.


[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Sabres highlights]


"That was the thing tonight, nothing went right," defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen said. "We didn't play good enough. We didn't work hard enough, and obviously we didn't play good enough defense."

Carter Hutton allowed five goals on 13 shots before being replaced by Jonas Johansson, who made 13 saves in his NHL debut.

Samuel Girard gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 13:12 of the first period when he got to a loose puck in the bottom of the right face-off circle.

Video: COL@BUF: Girard capitalizes on miscue for goal

"It was a bizarre play," he said. "I didn't see it when it popped up in the air, and then when it landed on the ice, I was the only player. I saw I had an open net, and no one saw me, so I shot it. It was a lucky goal, but we'll take it."

Burakovsky scored on a 2-on-1 at 13:57 to make it 2-0. He has four goals and seven assists during a five-game point streak.

"He's a good player, and I think you find with young players as you gain more and more experience, you start to understand what to do out there, when to use your skill and when to do it the right way and keep it safe," said Kadri, who had a goal and an assist. "I think he's starting to figure that out. Can't wait to watch what else he's got."

Sam Reinhart deflected a Jake McCabe shot to cut it to 2-1 with one second remaining in the period.

Kadri took a cross-ice pass from Nichushkin and put Colorado ahead 3-1 one minute into the second period, and Nikita Zadorov made it 4-1 when he slipped a backhand five-hole at 4:23.

Nichushkin extended the lead to 5-1 when he scored from the high slot at 10:58, chasing Hutton, and Mikko Rantanen pushed it to 6-1 at 12:59 when he scored from the left circle on the rush.

Video: COL@BUF: Rantanen buries feed from MacKinnon

"I don't think it's fair to put this on Carter," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "People look at the shot clock, but they out-chanced us, they out-chanced us even though the shots were quite equal there. It wouldn't be fair to put this one on him, it's all of us -- coaches, players -- all of us together. This is on all of us. We need to pull together and react to this. We have a game here at home in two nights (against the Detroit Red Wings). We need to show a different side, for sure."


They said it

"We have the keys that we need to have a successful line. We've got [Valeri Nichushkin], he's like a horse out there, it's tough to get the puck from him. He's working really hard and making plays, and he's having a really good year too. Obviously, [Nazem Kadri] making all the plays, so good with the puck and finding open lanes and just give it to us. For me, I'm just trying to give some speed to the line and try to make plays, and today it worked out pretty good." -- Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky on his line, which combined for nine points

"I think it's all coming down to the players at this point. I think that the systems and the game plans that are set out for us give us an opportunity to have success. I think it goes back to what I'm trying to preach here. Guys need to demand more out of themselves, and a lot of guys need to step the [heck] up." -- Sabres forward Sam Reinhart


Need to know

Cale Makar had an assist on Nichushkin's second goal to give him 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) this season, the most by a rookie defenseman in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history. Bruce Bell had 37 points for the Nordiques in 1984-85. ... Reinhart has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in the past 14 games.


What's next

Avalanche: At the Ottawa Senators on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS2, ALT, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Video: Burakovsky, Nichushkin lead Avalanche to 6-1 win

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