DENVER • Alex Newhook snatched a rebound and scored with 1:33 left in regulation and Nazem Kadri added the empty netter in a 7-5 Colorado Avalanche win Monday night at Ball Arena. Cale Makar scored twice, Kadri added three assists and the Avalanche won their fifth straight — all without star Nathan MacKinnon.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win for us but to be able to get it done like that, big win for us,” Newhook said. “Big character win.”
The Ottawa Senators had every reason to be the latest team blown out by the Avalanche. Colorado had outscored its opponents 24-8 during its win streak. Ottawa, at the very bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, was coming off a weeklong COVID pause that included three postponed games.
They kept coming back. Ottawa’s Zach Sanford scored a hat trick, one goal in each period.
The Senators came out of a three-goal flurry in four minutes with a 5-4, third-period lead. Mikko Rantanen tied it up with a power-play goal. He tapped the puck to Andre Burakovsky close by, who gently returned it for a big, accurate swing from Rantanen.
In the end, the messy wins count the same.
“I’d rather learn lessons as a team while we’re grabbing points than have them after losses,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said.
The second line consisting of Kadri, Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin kept clicking in MacKinnon’s absence. Fifty minutes into the game, the puck pinballed off bodies in front and went in off Nichushkin.
Gabriel Landeskog, appearing in his 700th NHL and Avalanche game, took the puck off the boards and found Makar, who zoomed up the opposite side of the ice and scored. The Senators responded with 46 seconds left in the period to take a 2-2 tie into the break.
Outshot 19-4 in the second period, the Senators did a good job of keeping many shots to the outside and goaltender Filip Gustavsson’s vision clear. Gustavsson, for his part, swallowed much of what he saw for a faceoff.
Kadri put a puck on the stick of Devon Toews for a tap-in. Kadri extended his point streak to nine games (5 goals, 14 assists). Bednar praised Kadri’s defensive play.
“I don’t know. Right now, his stick is magic,” Bednar said. “Did I think he was going to go on a heater like this for as long as he has (before the season)? Probably not. But we’ll take it.
“He’s certainly elevated his game. … He’s a big part of why we’re having success right now.”
Burakovsky added three helpers.
Darcy Kuemper (15 saves on 20 shots) had to be hauled off the ice after his skate broke in the crease away from the action. Jonas Johansson took over goaltending duties for 1:33 and made one save. Sanford scored his second of the night as soon as Kuemper returned.
The Avalanche needed a response but allowed another goal 1:03 into the period. A rebound and an empty net were waiting for Josh Norris, who gave the Senators their first lead of the game. Makar circled and pinched in, putting the puck over Gustavsson’s glove for his fifth goal in three games.
Sanford’s patience to the left of Kuemper was rewarded when the goaltender toppled over in the crease. Sanford banked it off Kuemper to make it 5-4.
“A little bit sloppy, for sure,” Kadri said. “They were an opportunistic team and cashed in on really the only opportunities they had.”
Note: Bednar tied Bob Hartley for the most regular-season wins in Avalanche history with 193 on Monday night.