Rantanen, Newhook lead NHL-best Avalanche past Sabres, 5-3

Feb 18, 2022, 10:46 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2022, 2:06 pm
Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, left, celebrates with left wing Andre Burakovsky, center and...

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri, left, celebrates with left wing Andre Burakovsky, center and defenseman Devon Toews after scoring against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Mikko Rantanen scored a goal and assisted on Alex Newhook’s tiebreaking goal in the third period, and the NHL-leading Colorado Avalanche beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 on Saturday.

Nathan MacKinnon also had a goal and an assist, J.T. Compher and Nazem Kadri scored the other goals, and Colorado extended its season-best road win streak to seven. With consecutive wins to open a four-game trip, the Avalanche improved to 8-0-1 in their past nine road games and 24-2-2 overall since Dec. 6.

“It’s something we talked about earlier on in the year, because I think when we got going at home, we were only .500 on the road,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Now to be able to string together seven in a row at a tough time in the year, I think it kind of shows that we can play our game, not just in our building, but on the road as well.”

Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves to earn a point in his 18th consecutive decision (16-0-2), prolonging a franchise record.

Tage Thompson netted his first hat trick for the Sabres, who have lost two in a row and fell to 8-14-4 at home. Jeff Skinner had two assists and Dustin Tokarski stopped 31 shots.

“Obviously the end result’s not what we want,” Thompson said. “But I thought we played a full 60, and we played the right way. And that’s what you’ve got to do every night. Now it’s just about finding that consistency, being able to do it every game.”

Rantanen set up Newhook in the slot for the go-ahead goal. It was Newhook’s 11th, coming on a rush after Erik Johnson knocked down Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin behind the Avalanche net.

“A little broken 3-on-2, and great pass by Mikko,” Newhook said. “I was lucky to put it in the back there.”

The sequence drew boos from the crowd as Dahlin was slow to get up from the ice before going to the dressing room. The All-Star defenseman returned later in the period and delivered a big hit to Colorado’s Andre Burakovsky.

Rantanen scored his 26th in the empty net with 52 seconds left in the game.

Fans tossed their hats on the ice for the first time in Buffalo this season after Thompson tied it up on a wrist shot from the high slot with 7:06 left in the second period. Kuemper stopped Skinner on a breakaway shortly before Mattias Samuelsson set up Thompson for his 19th goal.

“It’s a cool experience, for sure,” Thompson said. “You grow up and you want to play in the NHL, and those are the little dreams you have.”

The Avalanche scored three times within 10 minutes during a frenetic first period, and had quick responses to a pair of Sabres goals.

After Skinner set up Thompson 2:50 into the game to break Kuemper’s shutout streak at 146 minutes, 56 seconds, Cal Makar fed MacKinnon for his 11th goal 35 seconds later.

Compher scored the second goal for Colorado, his eighth, on a strong drive to the net with 8:42 to go in the first. Kadri’s 21st gave the Avalanche a 3-2 lead just 20 seconds after Skinner connected with Thompson again with 7:18 left in the period.

“There’s plenty to clean up,” Compher said. “We realized that we don’t want to play as high-even hockey as we did in the first. And if we limit turnovers at the blue lines early in this game, I think we handle it a little better.”

NOTES

Avalanche: Their seven-game road win streak is tied for the second-longest in franchise history behind a nine-game run from Feb. 2-March 4, 2020. They also won seven in a row from Jan. 10 to Feb. 7, 1999. … Improved to 22-0-0 when leading after the first period. … Makar’s assist gave him 50 points in 45 games, matching the third-year defenseman’s career-high total set in 57 rookie appearances. … D Ryan Murray replaced Kurtis MacDermid in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch in the previous three games.

Sabres: F Casey Mittelstadt returned to play in his eighth game of the season after missing five with an upper-body injury. … Samuelsson returned to the lineup in place of Robert Hagg and recorded his first point in 12 games. Buffalo has been rotating its seven healthy defensemen. … Skinner scored four times in a 5-3 win at Montreal on Sunday for the team’s first hat trick of the season.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At Boston on Monday.

Sabres: At Columbus on Sunday to begin a five-game trip.

___

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

FILE - LSU quarterback Myles Brennan passes in the second half an NCAA college football game agains...
Associated Press

LSU QB Brennan ends college career before 6th season

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU quarterback Myles Brennan has decided to end his college football career after five seasons with the Tigers. The 23-year-old Brennan, who announced his decision on Monday, spent his first three years at LSU as a backup. He was named the starter in 2020, only to have that season cut […]
2 days ago
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Josh Sborz (66) is checked on by athletic trainer Matt Lucero, cente...
Associated Press

Rangers fire manager Chris Woodward short of his 500th game

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers fired manager Chris Woodward on Monday, with the team on pace for its sixth consecutive losing season and fourth since he took over the team. The move came with Woodward only two games shy of managing his 500th game with the Rangers. He finished with a 211-287 record. […]
2 days ago
A screen at Dodger Stadium shows late broadcaster Vin Scully during a tribute to him before a baseb...
Associated Press

World Series to start on a Friday, could see latest end ever

NEW YORK (AP) — The World Series is scheduled to start on a Friday for the first time since 1915 and could end on Nov. 5 — its latest ever — because of the lockout that delayed opening day. Major League Baseball said Monday its expanded postseason will begin with all four games in the […]
2 days ago
FILE - Washington Mystics center Elizabeth Williams, left, gets a rebound next to Los Angeles Spark...
Associated Press

Australia’s Liz Cambage leaves WNBA ‘for the time being’

Liz Cambage announced on social media Monday that she decided to step away from the WNBA “for the time being,” addressing for the first time her contract divorce from the Los Angeles Sparks last month. “While I’ll miss rocking the purple and gold, I’ll be taking this time to focus on my healing and personal […]
2 days ago
Las Vegas Aces guard Chelsea Gray (12) passes around Seattle Storm's Tina Charles during the first ...
Associated Press

Las Vegas top WNBA playoff seed, league debuts new format

A’ja Wilson and the Las Vegas Aces will begin their quest for their first WNBA title a lot sooner than top seeds have done in previous few years. The Aces clinched homecourt throughout the playoff on the regular season’s final day by earning the top seed in the WNBA postseason that begins Wednesday. Before this […]
2 days ago
FILE - Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) during warm ups before the start of an NCAA college foot...
Associated Press

No. 1 Alabama tops preseason AP Top 25; Ohio St, ‘Dawgs next

With two of the best players in the country leading the way — and a championship game loss as motivation — Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll for the second straight season and ninth time overall. Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, national defensive player of year Will Anderson Jr. […]
2 days ago
Rantanen, Newhook lead NHL-best Avalanche past Sabres, 5-3