Makar, MacKinnon score, short-handed Avalanche beat Capitals

Nov 19, 2022, 4:44 AM | Updated: 7:26 pm
Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) is escorted to the penalty box during the secon...

Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) is escorted to the penalty box during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. The Avalanche won 4-0. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

(AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

              Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) is escorted to the penalty box during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. The Avalanche won 4-0. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Colorado Avalanche defenseman Andreas Englund (88) skates with the puck against Washington Capitals left wing Conor Sheary (73) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. The Avalanche won 4-0. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) reaches for the puck from between Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) and center Andrew Cogliano (11) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. The Avalanche won 4-0. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Colorado Avalanche center Andrew Cogliano (11) and defenseman Jacob MacDonald (26) are congratulated after an Avalanche goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. The Avalanche won 4-0. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              The Washington Capitals and the Colorado Avalanche participate in a ceremony for Hockey Fights Cancer Night before an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper pauses during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Colorado Avalanche left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) skates with the puck as Washington Capitals center Aliaksei Protas (59) and right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) defend during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) and Colorado Avalanche center Evan Rodrigues (9) reach for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) makes a save against Colorado Avalanche right wing Martin Kaut (61) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Colorado Avalanche center Andrew Cogliano (11) controls the puck as Washington Capitals center Dylan Strome (17) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev stands in front of the net during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
            
              Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Missing a handful of injured regulars, the Colorado Avalanche keep winning because two of their best players are healthy and rolling.

Cale Makar scored, Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and the defending Stanley Cup champions got 32 saves from Alexandar Georgiev to beat the Washington Capitals 4-0 Saturday night for their second consecutive victory. They’ve won six of seven despite being without captain Gabriel Landeskog, winger Valeri Nichushkin and defensemen Samuel Girard and Bowen Byram, among others, thanks in large part to Makar and MacKinnon.

“Highly competitive guys that want to be difference-makers at all times, and I think it’s even more important when you got a significant amount of injuries,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Your top guys have to be your top guys and sort of drive the bus, and our guys have been consistently doing that from the start of the season.”

MacKinnon made the highlight of the night deking around former Colorado teammate Nicolas Aube-Kubel with a fancy move a day after lamenting, “We have half our team out right now, and we’re still finding ways to win.”

“We need them,” MacKinnon said. “Our division’s good, obviously like every other year and we need these points. We want to be in a good, solid position when we get healthy.”

Makar scored on a 5-on-3 power play in the first period and MacKinnon at even strength in the second, beating Darcy Kuemper, the goaltender who backstopped Colorado to the Cup before departing in free agency to sign with Washington. Andrew Cogliano and Artturi Lehkonen also scored in the third period to make it four goals on 29 shots against Kuemper.

MacKinnon passed Mikko Rantanen for the team scoring lead with 27 points. Makar’s fourth goal of the season — and 19th point in 16 games — came two days after he played a regular-season career-high 32:48 in a win at Carolina.

It has been more than a week since the Capitals won a game. Also hurt by injuries, they lost their fourth in a row and have dropped nine of their past 11.

“We’ve played some unbelievable hockey at times, we just have to do it for 60 minutes,” forward Marcus Johansson said. “I feel like we’re such a good hockey team and it’s kind of gotten into our heads a little bit. And we just got to work through it, we got to find a way to work together to get through this.”

The Capitals opened the game with 12 shots to the Avalanche’s two but couldn’t beat Georgiev, Kuemper’s replacement who notched his first shutout with his new team. Georgiev was far more motivated to bounce back from allowing five goals in a loss last season with the New York Rangers in his most recent game at Washington than facing Kuemper and proving he was a capable successor.

“I wanted to get a big game here,” Georgiev said. “So, it definitely felt good to get a win like that here.”

NOTES: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov missed a seventh consecutive game because of injury. … Injured Washington forwards Nicklas Backstrom (hip surgery) and T.J. Oshie (undisclosed) took part in the team’s morning skate but remain out indefinitely. Coach Peter Laviolette said winger Tom Wilson, who tore the ACL in his left knee during the playoffs, has been working out off the ice and skated a bit with Backstrom.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Wrap up their three-game trip Monday night at Dallas.

Capitals: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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

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Makar, MacKinnon score, short-handed Avalanche beat Capitals