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game recap

Avalanche defeat Capitals for fifth straight win to start season

Kadri, Rantanen each has three points for Colorado; Holtby pulled in first period

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

Kadri's snipe on the rush

COL@WSH: Kadri wires a wrister in off the post

Nazem Kadri drives toward the net and rips a wrist shot in off the post, extending the Avalanche's lead to 3-0 in the 1st period

  • 00:54 •

WASHINGTON -- The Colorado Avalanche scored four first-period goals and remained undefeated, holding on for a 6-3 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Monday.

The Avalanche are 5-0-0 for the first time since 2013-14, when they started 6-0-0.

"It's good," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of the Avalanche start. "I'm proud of our guys because we've been throwing a lot at them here lately, and playing the right way and the habits that we want to build is the most important thing to me."


[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Capitals highlights]


Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and two assists for Colorado, which began a six-game road trip. Erik Johnson, Nikita Zadorov, Matt Nieto and Nathan MacKinnon scored, and former Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer made 29 saves.

With the extra attacker on, Alex Ovechkin scored from the point at 17:39 of the third period to make it 5-3. John Carlson scored 15 seconds later at 17:54, but Bednar challenged for offside, and the goal was overturned after video review. MacKinnon scored into an empty net with 40 seconds remaining to make it 6-3.

Video: COL@WSH: Rantanen pots Landeskog's pass on power play

Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie scored for Washington (3-2-2). Ilya Samsonov made 19 saves in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on Colorado's first three shots.

"We had a discussion about it between [the first and second] periods and we responded accordingly," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "Battled till the end there and have a call not go our way, but you're not setting yourself up for success with starting that way."

Johnson made it 1-0 at 3:42 with a shot from the left point.

Colorado went ahead 2-0 when Zadorov reached back for a pass from Rantanen on the rush, turned, and scored from the slot at 6:00.

Kadri scored with a shot from the left face-off circle at 7:54 to give the Avalanche a 3-0 lead and send Holtby to the bench.

"You've just got to find a way to help the team win," Holtby said. "Tonight, I didn't do that, and it's on me to make sure I improve. It's frustrating and I've just got to get back to work and work harder and find a way back to that mindset that success comes from."

Rantanen knocked in a loose puck from the right circle on the power play to make it 4-0 at 9:25.

"That was our best period of the year," Bednar said. "We found our offensive game, we found our puck patience, we were snapping the puck, executing, and we matched that with real good defending details as well."

The Capitals made it 4-1 at 6:56 of the second period when Ovechkin deflected a clearing attempt to Eller, who was alone in front of Grubauer.

"We tried to bounce back, and I think we did a pretty good job," Ovechkin said. 

Oshie made it 4-2 when he deked around Grubauer and slid a backhand shot in at 15:28 for his fourth goal of the season.

Samsonov turned over the puck behind his net, and Tyson Jost fed Nieto for a Colorado goal that made it 5-2 at 4:24 of the third period.

"I think in the third we started to play a little bit more simple, chip it out and make some easy passes instead of forcing it, and then away we go, 5-0 that's a pretty good start," former Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky said.

Video: COL@WSH: Zadorov spins and whips home wrist shot


They said it

"I don't think we've played our best yet. We haven't played 60 minutes, yet. We've got to clean some stuff up. For sure, I think we dodged a couple bullets a little bit early and got the win, but overall we got the two points and nobody's asking at the end how." -- Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer

"We got away from our team identity right from the start. You can see the difference when we played to our identity and started to be physical and forecheck, the whole game changed. We've got to be able to do that for 60 full minutes." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Need to know

The Avalanche are the only undefeated team in the NHL after the Edmonton Oilers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. ... Rantanen has nine points (four goals, five assists) during a five-game point streak to open season. … Avalanche rookie Cale Makar (assist) extended his point streak to five games. He is the fifth defenseman in NHL history to have a point in each of his first five career games, joining Marek Zidlicky (2003-04, Nashville Predators, six games), Larry Murphy (1980-81, Los Angeles Kings), Hap Day (1924-25, Toronto St. Pats) and Harry Cameron (1917-18, Toronto Arenas). … Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole (hip) made his season debut after missing four games. … Burakovsky, who was traded to the Avalanche by the Capitals on June 28, received a video tribute and loud ovation during a stoppage of play in the first period. … Reirden said defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler, who left the game in the third period, went through the concussion protocol and was cleared.


What's next

Avalanche: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN)

Capitals: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, TVAS, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Video: Avalanche start fast, top Caps to remain undefeated

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