Rantanen leads Avalanche to 4-1 win over Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Andrew Cogliano, Valeri Nichushkin and Brad Hunt also scored for Colorado, and Nathan MacKinnon had two assists. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 28 shots.
“Guys are playing confident and it helps that we kind of worked through that tough stretch and got a couple in a row,” Georgiev said of his team’s recent success. “And now it’s just one day at a time for us as usual.”
Elias Pettersson scored for Vancouver, which lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Collin Delia finished with 26 saves.
Despite Vancouver’s performance, the crowd showed its appreciation for Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau midway through the second period and again late in the game with chants of “Bruce, there it is!” to the tune of Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There it is).” Multiple reports said the veteran coach could be fired imminently and replaced with Rick Tocchet.
“It kind of seems like the mindset and the mood got to us tonight,” Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers said. “You can tell guys are down. It’s not easy times right now, there’s a lot going on. We’ve got to find a way to stay positive and keep working.”
Cogliano opened the scoring with 8 1/2 minutes left in the first, ripping a shot past Delia glove side from the hash marks for his seventh of the season.
The Avalanche had a two-man advantage after two penalties on the Canucks late in the first period. Just 34 seconds into the second, J.T. Compher sent Nichushkin a pass from the goal line and the Russian forward sent a wrist shot sailing toward the net. The puck bounced in off Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers as he slid in front of the net to give Colorado a 2-0 lead.
MacKinnon contributed an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to seven games with four goals and 11 assists across the stretch.
Another two-man advantage saw the Avs go up 3-0 midway through the second after Vancouver’s Conor Garland was sent to the box for holding and his team was called for too many men. MacKinnon sent a blistering shot wide of the net and the puck sprang off the end boards to Rantanen at the goal line. The forward fired off a quick sharp-angle shot over Delia stick side for his 32nd goal of the year at the 10:32 mark.
“I liked our special teams tonight,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Obviously it helps when you get two 5-on-3s. We were able to capitalize on both of them.”
Vancouver got on the board with 7 1/2 minutes left in the period after Brock Boeser dove in the slot, poking the puck to Pettersson at the top of the crease. The Swedish center used some deft stickhandling, moving the puck from his forehand to his backhand, then, while falling to his knees, wrapped a shot around Georgiev for his 19th.
Hunt gave the Avalanche a three-goal cushion as the veteran defenseman launched a rocket from the blue line that sailed past Delia with 33 seconds left in the middle period.
Colorado went 2 for 4 with the man advantage Friday while Vancouver was 0 for 4.
“When you lose the special teams battles, a lot of times you lose the game and that’s what happened again tonight,” Boudreau said.
INS AND OUTS
Canucks D Travis Dermott returned to the lineup after missing three games with an undisclosed injury. … Colorado’s Cale Makar missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury.
Vancouver F Horvat saw his nine-game point streak end. The Canucks center registered four goals and six assists going back to Dec. 29.
Avalanche: At Seattle on Saturday night to finish a three-game trip.
Canucks: Host Edmonton on Saturday night in the third of four-game homestand,
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