DETROIT (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon scored a tiebreaking goal with a burst of speed and a slick wrist shot midway through the second period to help the Colorado Avalanche pull away for a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
“When he’s dangerous and playing vertical, he can be a bull in a china shop,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said of MacKinnon. “To work his way through the D under heavy pressure and still being able to make those shots, it’s pretty cool.”
Devon Toews scored early in the game and Bowen Byram gave Colorado a two-goal lead late in the second after MacKinnon’s shot broke a defenseman’s stick. Lars Eller had a short-handed goal and Mikko Rantanen scored his 46th less than a minute later in the third, ending Ville Husso’s day after he gave up five goals on just 21 shots.
“We stay on the gas the whole game,” Rantanen said. “We don’t want to sit back at all.”
MacKinnon also had an assist and Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who won five straight games for the third time this season.
“Our goalie probably outplayed their goalie,” Bednar said.
Pius Suter pulled Detroit into a 1-all tie in the first period and Magnus Hellberg finished with two saves, filling in for Husso for the last 14-plus minutes.
The Red Wings went 0 for 2 with an extra skater in the first period and had a short-handed chance to score late in the second, but Georgiev stopped Adam Erne’s shot.
“We didn’t capitalize on our power-play chances,” Detroit captain Dylan Larkin said. “When we had a power play with it 3-1, we give up a shorty and another goal right after that. That’s just a lapse and we left Huss out to dry.”
Detroit has lost nine of its last 11 games, fading from contention for a wild card and an opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Eller, a third-line center, had a goal for the second straight game and has scored nine times this season.
“He’s big and strong on the puck and he can play in traffic,” Bednar said. “He can provide a little bit of offense. He’s not afraid to hang onto the puck and make plays.”
THE BIG KID
Detroit’s 6-foot-6, 209-pound defenseman Simon Edvinsson, the No. 6 pick overall in 2021, made his NHL debut.
“I was nervous at the beginning of course,” the 20-year-old Swede said. “It was awesome to play here in front of the fans, and I felt comfortable with the pace. Of course there are things I need to do better in the system, but it felt better in the third and I need to build on that.”
Avs F Andrew Cogliano left the ice early in the game after blocking a shot. His playing time was limited the rest of the afternoon, but Bednar does not expect it to be anything serious. … Colorado has won five straight games for the third straight month, including a season-high six-game streak in January. … Red Wings D Ben Chiarot was scratched with an upper-body injury and is expected to be out for at least one week. … MacKinnon, the No. 1 pick overall in 2013, has scored at least 30 goals for the fifth time in his career. … MacKinnon and Cole Makar, who had three assists to increase his total to 45 this season, have at least a point in eight straight games.
Avalanche: Host Chicago on Monday.
Red Wings: Host Florida on Monday.
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Larry Lage, The Associated Press