Nichushkin scores 2 goals, Avalanche beat Rangers 4-2

Dec 14, 2021, 7:08 AM | Updated: 10:25 pm
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper makes a glove save off a shot from the New York Rangers...

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper makes a glove save off a shot from the New York Rangers in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Valeri Nichushkin had two goals, Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen also scored and the Colorado Avalanche beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.

Nathan MacKinnon had two assists and Darcy Kuemper stopped 26 shots in Colorado’s second victory over New York in less than a week. The Avalanche beat the Rangers 7-3 at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday.

Ryan Strome and Julien Gauthier scored and Alexander Georgiev made 27 saves for New York, which has dropped two in a row and three of four following a seven-game winning streak that capped an 11-1 surge.

“You’re going to go through stretches in the season. That’s part of playing in the NHL,” Strome said. “It’s a great opportunity for growth. When things are going well sometimes you get a little complacent and sometimes it’s a little bit of a reality check. Tonight, although it’s a loss, the effort was there.”

Nazem Kadri returned from a two-game absence with three assists and leads Colorado with 37 points. But defenseman Devon Toews tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in the NHL’s health and safety protocol.

The Avalanche are also without captain Gabriel Landeskog, expected to miss a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury sustained Friday against Detroit.

Still, they keep winning. Colorado has gone 13-2-1 in its last 16 games despite the roster upheaval.

“We’re getting timely goals from different guys every night,” coach Jared Bednar said. “That’s how you win hockey games. You make plays with the game on the line, offensively and defensively. It’s what you need to be a top team in this league. Val, obviously, great play.”

Rantanen gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 12:18 of the first with his 13th goal, and Makar got his 13th on a power play late in the period.

The 13 goals are a career high for Makar, who is in his third season.

“I guess the pucks just seem to be going in right now. I don’t think this is going to continue throughout the year,” Makar said. “I think it’s a little bit heavier pace right now, but a lot of credit goes back to the guys who are moving the puck well and creating lanes. Even the goal I scored tonight, (J.T.) Compher just in front of the net, it doesn’t go in if he’s not there.”

New York broke through midway through the second on Strome’s sixth goal to make it 2-1 at 10:36. Nichushkin answered late in the period to restore the two-goal advantage.

Compher appeared to make it 4-1 at 12:12 of the third but the Rangers challenged for goalie interference and the call was reversed.

Gauthier scored at 17:58 with Georgiev off for an extra skater, and Chris Kreider nearly tied it with just more than a minute left. Georgiev was back in net when Nichushkin scored on a breakaway at 19:23, his ninth.

“Late goal to make it 3-2 and then Kreider had two great chances to tie it up,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “Part of the game. We never quit.”


New York’s previous visit to Denver was March 11, 2020, the last game before the NHL suspended that season due to the pandemic. Colorado won 3-2 in overtime while the sports world was clouded in uncertainty due to rising coronavirus cases.

The NBA had suspended its season that night after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, and the NHL followed suit the next day.

“For me that was the last game I played rookie year,” Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said.

NOTES: Toews will be out until after the league’s Christmas hiatus. Bednar said Toews is symptomatic. D Justin Barron was recalled from the AHL and made his NHL debut. … Rangers D Nils Lundkvist was scratched for the second straight game with a non-COVID-19 illness. … Colorado D Jacob MacDonald was out of the lineup. He left Sunday’s game on a stretcher after a hard check but remained at the arena.


Rangers: Play at Arizona on Wednesday night.

Avalanche: Play at Nashville on Thursday night.


More AP NHL: and

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


Canada's Nirra Fields, left, runs past Puerto Rico's Trinity San Antonio during their quarterfinal ...
Associated Press

Canada into women’s World Cup semis for 1st time since 1986

SYDNEY (AP) — No one on Canada’s roster was alive the last team the team won a medal at the women’s World Cup. Now the Canadians are a win away from winning one for the first time since 1986, when they captured the bronze. Kia Nurse scored 17 points to lead a balanced Canada team […]
1 day ago
FILE - Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala handles the ball during the second half of an N...
Associated Press

Warriors-Wizards games in Japan to woo NBA fans, sponsors

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball fans will get to see NBA stars up close when the reigning league-champion Golden State Warriors take on the Washington Wizards in two preseason games. Not surprisingly, Stephen Curry and Japanese-born Rui Hachimura will be the star attractions for each team. And as clearly as the logo of Japanese online […]
1 day ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates his 61st home run of the season, a two-run shot against th...
Associated Press

Maris Jr: Bonds, McGwire illegitimate, Judge to be HR king

TORONTO (AP) — Roger Maris Jr. considers the home run feats of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to be illegitimate and says Aaron Judge should be recognized as the holder of the big league season standard if the New York Yankees slugger hits No. 62. “He should be revered for being the actual […]
1 day ago
San Diego Padres' Manny Machado, right, jokes with Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux (9)...
Associated Press

Freeman has RBI single in 10th, gives Dodgers 107th win

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Freddie Freeman helped the Atlanta Braves win the World Series last year and on Wednesday night he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers set the franchise season record with their 107th victory. Freeman singled in Mookie Betts with one out in the 10th inning and the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres […]
1 day ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hugs his mother, Patty Judge, after the team's baseball game against ...
Associated Press

Fans miss 61 HR ball, Jays bullpen coach gets it to Judge

TORONTO (AP) — When Aaron Judge’s American League record-tying 61st home run dropped into Toronto’s bullpen, coach Matt Buschmann picked it up. “Bad news is I’m down here in Florida battling a hurricane, but the good news is I can announce my retirement,” tweeted Buschmann’s wife, Sara Walsh, a Fox Sports reporter and former ESPN […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during t...
Associated Press

Trout hits 38th homer, Lorenzen sharp as Angels beat A’s 4-1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout hit his 38th home run, Michael Lorenzen went five strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels continued their success against the Oakland Athletics with a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night. Taylor Ward also homered, while Lorenzen (8-6) gave up an unearned run to lower his ERA to 0.45 against […]
1 day ago
Nichushkin scores 2 goals, Avalanche beat Rangers 4-2