Nichushkin scores, MacKinnon-less Avs rout Canucks 7-1

Nov 11, 2021, 6:39 AM | Updated: 9:42 pm
Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin, left, celebrates his goal with defensemen Samuel G...

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin, left, celebrates his goal with defensemen Samuel Girard and Devon Toews, right, during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

              Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper waits for play to resume against the Vancouver Canucks in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            
              Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller, left, reaches for the puck as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            
              Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews, front, and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson pursue the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
            
              Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin, left, celebrates his goal with defensemen Samuel Girard and Devon Toews, right, during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Valeri Nichushkin scored in his return from injury, Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists and the Colorado Avalanche overcame the absence of star center Nathan MacKinnon to rout the Vancouver Canucks 7-1 on Thursday night.

Logan O’Connor and Devon Toews each added a goal and an assist, Gabriel Landeskog, Darren Helm and J.T. Compher also scored, and Darcy Kuemper made 21 saves. The Avalanche snapped a two-game skid with their highest-scoring game of the season.

“I think today we put the whole package together,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “It reminds me a little bit of the Tampa game. We’ve done it a couple times now, but the picture should be getting clearer and clearer for the players, that this is the way we have to play in order to have success. I think they’re buying into that, so getting a 7-1 win and playing the right way with the right habits is really important for them.”

Nils Hoglander scored after Vancouver fell behind 6-0, and Thatcher Demko allowed six goals on 26 shots before being pulled after two periods for the Canucks. They trailed 3-0 before getting their second shot on goal.

“We should be embarrassed,” captain Bo Horvat said. “We obviously didn’t come to play tonight. They outplayed us. It’s unacceptable and we can’t let it happen again.”

Bednar announced Wednesday that MacKinnon, a four-time All-Star, would miss about three weeks with a lower-body injury suffered Saturday in a loss at Columbus. Compher centered the top line with Landeskog and Rantanen.

MacKinnon was sidelined just as the banged-up Avs welcomed back top-pair defenseman Cale Makar (two assists) and Nichuskin from upper-body injuries. Defenseman Sam Girard (two assists) also dressed after leaving practice early Wednesday.

Nichushkin, in his first game since Oct. 13, made an immediate impact. He knocked in Nazem Kadri’s rebound on the power play before tumbling into the goal himself at 3:18.

With the Canucks providing little resistance, Landeskog was open on the side of the net when he took a feed from Makar for his fifth goal to make it 2-0 at 7:34. Rantanen then scored at 11:10 after Bowen Byram stole the puck from Elias Pettersson.

Coach Travis Green called his timeout after it was 3-0, but Vancouver couldn’t recover as it started a three-game trip after a 2-4-1 homestand by being outshot 35-22.

“They look like a team that’s trying to find their game, a team that’s thinking about winning the Stanley Cup,” Green said. “We look like we had a bunch of guys that were a half-step behind. We weren’t close tonight.”

A day after placing Luke Schenn on injured reserve, call-up Jack Rathbone was on Vancouver’s third defensive pairing with Kyle Burroughs. And the Cancucks’ defense struggled.

Byram didn’t return after taking a blow to the head in the first period, but the Avs extended their lead to 4-0 as O’Connor knocked in a feed from Girard at 11:05 of the second.

“We’ve gotten down here lately a couple times and then we’re fighting back during the game. So having a good start off the bat is huge, especially coming back home, at altitude,” O’Connor said. “Those guys have had a couple more games as of late and we had a (four) day break.”

Helms scored a short-handed goal off a 2-on-1 rush at 16:32 of the second, and Toews made it 6-0 with 6 seconds left in the period.

Jaroslav Halak replaced Demko and stopped eight shots in the third period.

POOLMAN TOSSED

Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman was given a match penalty midway through the third period after his stick to the face of Kiefer Sherwood.

LIGHT STRETCH OVER

It was Colorado’s first game in five days and Thursday concluded a stretch of only two games in 11 days. Both matchups were against Columbus. The teams were scheduled to play in Finland, and the NHL kept the schedule intact even after the Helsinki games were moved due to COVID-19.

UP NEXT

Canucks: At Vegas on Saturday night.

Avalanche: Host San Jose on Saturday night.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, right, drives to the rim as Atlanta Hawks forward Onyeka Okongw...
Associated Press

Nuggets beat Hawks 128-108, tie Boston for NBA’s best record

DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray scored a season-high 41 points, Nikola Jokic had his 18th triple-double of the season and the Denver Nuggets won their third straight game, beating the Atlanta Hawks 128-108 on Saturday night. Jokic finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists and recorded the 94th regular-season triple-double of his career. […]
23 hours ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) drives to the basket against Golden State Warriors gu...
Associated Press

Curry injures left leg leading Warriors over Mavs 119-113

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry went down and the Golden Warriors once again had to fight like crazy to close out a game. Curry had 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds before injuring his left leg defending a drive late in the third quarter, and the defending NBA champions defeated Dallas 119-113 on […]
23 hours ago
Fedor Emelianenko, rights, listens to interpreter Georgiy Litvinov during an interview in Los Angel...
Associated Press

Fedor Emelianenko loses to Bader in Russian star’s last bout

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Fedor Emelianenko placed his gloves on the canvas and then cracked a warm smile while nearly a dozen mixed martial arts greats behind him led the crowd in one last ovation. Although the Last Emperor says his career is over, his fans and fellow fighters won’t forget his greatness any time […]
23 hours ago
Miami Heat's Dewayne Dedmon (21) looks to shoot against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo duri...
Associated Press

Antetokounmpo has triple-double; Bucks win 7th straight

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double with 35 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the short-handed Miami Heat 123-115 on Saturday night for their seventh straight victory. “You kind of know what to expect from the Miami team,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’ve played them so many times. I’ve played […]
23 hours ago
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots in front of Houston Rockets forward ...
Associated Press

Gilgeous-Alexander scores 42 as Thunder blow out Rockets

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder took what coach Mark Daigneault called a “bloodthirsty mentality” into Saturday’s rematch with the Houston Rockets. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 42 points to help the Thunder blow out Houston 153-121. They were disappointed in losing at Houston on Wednesday and responded by setting an Oklahoma City record for […]
23 hours ago
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, left, disputes a penalty called against him during the first half ...
Associated Press

Zach LaVine scores 36 as Bulls beat Trail Blazers 129-121

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls tried all sorts of defensive coverages on Damian Lillard. He kept scoring anyway. Just not enough to hold down Zach LaVine and company. LaVine scored 36 points, DeMar DeRozan had 27 and the Bulls topped Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers 129-121 on Saturday night. Nikola Vucevic added 23 […]
23 hours ago
Nichushkin scores, MacKinnon-less Avs rout Canucks 7-1