5 takeaways from the Avalanche’s 5-1 win over Minnesota – The Denver Post
In dominating fashion, the Avalanche on Thursday night leapfrogged Minnesota for second place in the West Divison by dismantling the Wild 5-1 at Ball Arena.
Colorado, now at the halfway point of their 56-game season, outshot the Wild 55-20 in extending its winning streak to a season-high five games.
Minnesota saw its five-game winning streak snapped. The teams meet Saturday afternoon to conclude their two-game set at Ball Arena.
Shots galore. The Avs are often compared to the Stanley Cup-winning teams of 1996 and 2001 because they are approaching or breaking club records. Colorado’s 55 shots on Thursday are the second-most in team history behind the 57 produced March 3, 1996, against the San Jose Sharks.
The Avs’ plus-35 shot differential is a new club record and most in the NHL this season.
Colorado held its opponents to fewer than 30 shots for the 18th straight game; the previous record was 14 by the 2000-01 team.
In their last six games, the Avs have outshot their opponents by a whopping 259-116 (plus-143). They lead the league in average shots-allowed at 24.7.
Winning percentage. The Avalanche (18-8-2) has a winning percentage of .679, third-highest at the midpoint of the season in club annals. The 2000-01 team was at .720 (26-8-7) through a normal 82-game season and coach Patrick Roy’s first team in 2013-14 was at .683 (26-11-14).
All-star goalie. If there was an NHL All-Star game this season, Philipp Grubauer would be in the lineup. The Avalanche goalie leads the NHL with a 1.82 goals-against average and he won for the 17th time in 24 appearances. He is second in wins to Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (19) and one shy of his career-high, reached in each of the last two seasons.
Grubauer is fifth in save percentage at .925, despite leading the league in time on ice among goalies (1,420:06).
Mikko magic. Right winger Mikko Rantanen had two goals and two assists for his second straight multi-point game and third in the last four. He has nine points (four goals) in his last four games and his 16 goals are tied for fifth in the league.
“Mikko is an amazing player and has been for a long time,” linemate Nathan MacKinnon said of Rantanen.
Rantanen, MacKinnon and left wing Gabe Landeskog combined for 10 points. The latter two each had a goal and two assists.
Landeskog, the Avs’ 28-year-old captain, played in his 659th career NHL game to tie Cody McLeod for fourth in Avalanche history. Only Milan Hejduk (1,020), Joe Sakic (870) and Adam Foote (760) have played more games in an Avs sweater.
“It does make me feel a little bit old,” Landeskog said. “You try to prepare for every game, try to put the work in, and all of a sudden the time flies by. It’s crazy, I guess, when you think about it. Fivers (McLeod) was here for a long time and I played with him for a long time.”
Young reinforcements. Defensemen Cale Makar, 22, and Bo Byram, 19, returned to the lineup after missing the last 10 and nine games, respectively, to upper-body injuries.
Both played well. Makar logged 19:13 and Byram 15:58. Makar is a Norris Trophy candidate and Byram could follow in that elite direction. The future is now for the Avs, and Makar and Byram are big pieces of that.
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