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game recap

Landeskog scores hat trick in Avalanche win against Capitals

Forward combines with MacKinnon, Rantanen for five goals, seven assists for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Gabriel Landeskog scored his first NHL hat trick, Nathan MacKinnon had five points, and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Washington Capitals 6-2 at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

Colin Wilson and Mikko Rantanen also scored for the Avalanche (9-7-1), who ended a three-game losing streak (0-2-1).

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

The Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen line combined for 12 points (five goals, seven assists). MacKinnon had one goal and four assists, and Rantanen one goal and three assists. Semyon Varlamov had 28 saves.

It was the Avalanche's first game at Pepsi Center since Nov. 2. They went 0-1-1 against the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series in Stockholm on Friday and Saturday.

"They were really good," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of the top line. "They've been pretty good lately. I didn't love the second game they had in Sweden, it was a pretty quiet night for them, probably the quietest of the year, but they responded coming back here. They've won a couple games for us lately."

Video: WSH@COL: Landeskog notches first career hat trick

Brett Connolly and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals (10-9-1), who gave up 12 goals and lost both games on their road trip. Philipp Grubauer had 22 saves.

"I just don't like the last two games," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "For whatever reason, we've had poor starts. We haven't been ready out of the gates. We haven't worked hard in our battles."

Landeskog scored 17 seconds into the first period, beat Grubauer on a penalty shot at 4:59 of the third period, and got the hat trick on the power play with 25.2 seconds remaining. He has eight goals this season.

"It felt good to get that third one," Landeskog said. "I had a couple of good looks before. It was a great team win."

Landeskog was awarded the penalty shot after Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik slashed him on a breakaway.

"I was talking to Mikko and Nate, I hadn't really made up my mind," Landeskog said of his strategy. "Mikko said come in and shoot low blocker. I came in and I didn't really feel that, so I just slowed down and tried to flick it high blocker, and it worked. I'm not really a shootout specialist by any means, but I was able to sneak that one in."

Video: WSH@COL: Rantanen buries one-timer top shelf for PPG

MacKinnon put the Avalanche ahead 2-0 with 6.2 seconds left in the first period with his sixth goal. Samuel Girard passed to MacKinnon, who skated left to right through the slot and shot by Grubauer's glove.

The Avalanche took a 3-0 lead at 12:25 of the second period when Wilson converted the rebound of MacKinnon's shot for his first goal.

"Tonight, everything just kind of went in," said MacKinnon, who has 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in the past seven games.

The Capitals closed to 3-1 on Connolly's second goal at 18:36.

A goal by Colorado's Nikita Zadorov with 23.3 seconds left was disallowed after a goalie interference challenge by Trotz. Matt Nieto was ruled to have interfered with Grubauer.

Rantanen scored his sixth goal on the power play at 9:01 of the third period for a 5-1 lead.

Kuznetsov made it 5-2 when he scored his fourth goal on the power play at 13:11. Washington went 1-for-5 on with the man-advantage.

"It wasn't exactly what we wanted," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said. "We blame ourselves and we need to make changes. We scored at the end of the third, but our power play wasn't good. We had plenty of chances in the second period. We didn't execute."

Video: WSH@COL: Kuznetov redirects Oshie's pass for a PPG

 

Goal of the game

Landeskog's goal at 19:34 of the third period.

Video: WSH@COL: Landeskog buries PPG to complete hat trick

 

Save of the game

Varlamov stopped Ovechkin at 10:30 of the second period.

Video: WSH@COL: Varlamov stymies Ovechkin's hard slap shot

 

Highlight of the game

Landeskog's penalty shot at 4:59 of the third period.

Video: WSH@COL: Landeskog scores second goal on penalty shot

 

They said it

"I'm absolutely disappointed, angry, a lot of different emotions. I expected a lot better. I expected a better start. We were slow and sort of lethargic. We talked two straight games about coming out of that and we were down a goal right away." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz

 

"It's fun, it's always fun to score. Hockey's more fun when you're scoring goals and getting points and winning. We're trying to climb up the standings as much as we can." -- Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon

Video: WSH@COL: MacKinnon scores pretty goal late in the 1st

 

Need to know

Rookie forward Vladislav Kamenev, making his Avalanche debut, sustained a broken arm on a hit by Orpik at 6:25 of the second period. Kamenev was acquired from the Nashville Predators in the three-team trade that sent center Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 5. "You hate to see that," Bednar said. "A kid coming up and getting a good opportunity to jump in and he's new to the organization. I know he really wants to impress. He's a little bit down in the dumps, but he'll be back."

 

What's next

Capitals: Host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, FS-N, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Nashville Predators on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, ALT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Landeskog, MacKinnon lead Avs past Caps, 6-2

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