Rantanen, MacKinnon score 2 each, Avalanche beat Coyotes 5-0
Jan 15, 2022, 6:54 AM | Updated: 9:33 pm
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals each, Darcy Kuemper had 20 saves for his first shutout of the season, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-0 on Saturday night.
Nazem Kadri also scored as Colorado had three goals in a 3:41 span of the second period to improve to 7-0-1 in its last eight games. The Avalanche also beat the Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout at home on Friday.
“We had a lot of really good players tonight, right from the goaltender on out,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “‘Kemps’ was real sharp tonight. … It is important to get ‘Kemps’ really rolling in the right direction, and to be able to do it and have a game like that in front of his old team and old fans, should make him feel real good about it.”
Kuemper, who spent the previous four seasons with the Coyotes, earned his 21st career shutout. He had 10 with Arizona before being traded to Colorado in the offseason.
“It was a fun night,” Kuemper said. “A little bit more emotions at the start of the game than I thought coming back here. A lot of good memories. The guys played great in front of me.”
MacKinnon also had an assist to help Colorado earn a point for the 15th time in 16 games (13-1-2).
“A good commitment from our group to play the right way,” Bednar said of the recent run. “It hasn’t always been perfect, but different nights different guys stepping up and making a play or two. It’s a confident group right now, and it has been a hard-working group.”
Kadri has 24 points in his last 15 games and is fifth in the league with 49 points.
Colorado moved into first place in the Central Division, one point ahead of Nashville.
“We know there is still a lot of hockey left for us, and just concentrating on our game and how we can be better,” Rantanen said.
Karel Vejmelka had 26 saves for Arizona, which is 4-11-2 in its last 17 games. The Coyotes have four defensemen in COVID-19 protocols, and only three of their available defensemen have played as many as nine games this season.
Lawson Crouse had the Coyotes’ best scoring chance when he skated in on Kuemper with 2:30 left in the second period, but Eric Johnson poke-checked the puck away from behind and Kuemper smothered the puck.
MacKinnon stuffed a puck past Vejmelka on a power play for a 1-0 lead at 13:13 of the first period. Colorado had a 5-on-3 power play for 54 seconds but did not score until 2 seconds after the first penalty ended. The Coyotes have given up 33 power play goals, the second-most in the league.
Rantanen tipped in a wrist shot from MacKinnon that dribbled behind Arizona Karel Vejmelka for a 2-0 lead at 10:49 of the second period, and Kadri and Rantanen scored on giveaways in the Arizona zone in the next three minutes.
“Defensively, one of our best games this year,” Rantanen said. “That’s how we create offense, too.”
MacKinnon capped the scoring with 21 seconds left in the third.
Arizona coach Andre Tourigny missed his third straight game while in COVID-19 protocols. Assistant coach Phil Housley took over. … The Coyotes also were without D Jakob Chychrun, D Anton Straiman, D Cam Dineen, G Scott Wedgewood and D Kyle Capobianco, all in the COVID-19 protocols. … Kadri played in his 700th game. … Avalanche F Gabriel Landeskog returned after missing three games because of COVID-19 protocols. … Coyotes F Alex Galchenyuk played in his 600th game. … Arizona D Ryan Murray (upper body) did not play after suffering his injury at Colorado on Friday.
Colorado: Hosts Minnesota on Monday.
Arizona: Hosts Montreal on Monday.
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