Landeskog’s hat trick leads Avalanche to 7-1 win over Jets
DENVER (AP) — Gabriel Landeskog got his fourth career hat trick and finished with four points to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Landeskog scored twice in a three-goal second period for the surging Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and four assists, and Mikko Rantanen added a goal and two assists to give Colorado’s top line 12 points on the night.
“Right away out of the gate I saw they were involved physically, real assertive on loose pucks. I liked their game all the way around,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “They checked the right way and they got rewarded.”
The Avalanche have won 10 straight at home, three in a row coming off a seven-game COVID-19 pause, and are 16-3-1 since Nov. 6. They put 42 shots on Connor Hellebuyck, who made 35 saves.
It was Landeskog’s first hat trick since Oct. 18, 2018, at New Jersey. He capped it when he scored on Rantanen’s rebound at 17:10 of the third, his 13th of the season.
Landeskog was more satisfied with how the team played defensively after giving up the first goal of the game.
“When we play the right way and take care of our end first, for us that’s the recipe to win hockey games, making sure we take care of the defensive side of things first,” he said. “Offensively, we know we have enough skill and systems in place to score goals.”
The Jets had their three-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the second time since interim coach Dave Lowry took over for Paul Maurice, who resigned abruptly on Dec. 17.
Winnipeg won two road games coming out of a five-game pause but ended this portion of its trip with Thursday’s loss. The Jets’ next three games are postponed, and they play their fourth straight on the road next week in Detroit.
Winnipeg took an early lead on Mark Scheifele’s power-play goal, his ninth of the season, just 2:56 into the game. Nazem Kadri tied it later in the first with his 12th of the season, and then the Avalanche took control in the second.
“We did a lot of really good things. We executed on the power play. We managed the game, we got the pucks in and we had some good chances,” Lowry said. “There was a lot to like coming out of 20 minutes.”
Landeskog gave Colorado the lead when he knocked in a rebound at 5:20, and Rantanen made it 3-1 midway through with his 16th of the season.
Landeskog got his second of the night when he scored off MacKinnon’s rebound at 15:21. The Jets put 15 shots on Darcy Kuemper in the third period but couldn’t get one past him. MacKinnon made it 5-1 with his fourth goal of the season at 12:17 to cap a dominating night for the top line.
“They’re one of the best lines in the league. All three of them are elite. They’re elite at different things and they complement each other extremely well,” Winnipeg captain Adam Lowry said. “With an active back end like Colorado has, it seems like they come at you with four or five guys.”
Bowen Byram scored his fifth at 19:49 to finish the four-goal third period.
Kuemper had 34 saves.
NOTES: It was the first game between the Central Division rivals since Dec. 31, 2019, a 7-4 Winnipeg win in Denver. ... Avalanche D Ryan Murray returned after missing the previous 11 games with a lower-body injury. He had not played since Nov. 27. He replaced D Jack Johnson in the lineup. Johnson sustained a lower-body injury Tuesday night in Chicago. ... Before the game, Jets forward Jansen Harkins, defenseman Dylan DeMelo, goalie Arvid Holm and video coach Matt Prefontaine were placed in COVID-19 protocol. ... Winnipeg also put David Gustafsson on injured reserve and activated forward Cole Perfetti from the taxi squad. Gustafsson sustained a lower-body injury in a 5-4 shootout win over Vegas on Sunday.
Jets: At the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
Avalanche: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
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