VANCOUVER — Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists Wednesday as the Colorado Avalanche topped the struggling Vancouver Canucks 4-2.
Mikko Rantanen also scored and had two helpers for Colorado (6-5-1), while Cale Makar added one of each and Gabriel Landeskog added an empty-net strike. Three of the Avalanche’s goals came on the power play.
Tucker Poolman scored and registered a helper for Vancouver (5-10-2), and Conor Garland also found the back of the net for the home side.
Darcy Keumper stopped 30-of-32 shots for the Avalanche and Thatcher Demko had 26 saves for the Canucks.
The result extended the Canucks’ losing skid to five games and followed a disastrous road trip that saw Vancouver outscored 19-6 over three-straight blowouts, including a 7-1 loss to the Avalanche last Thursday.
Vancouver pulled Demko late in the third in a bid to score yet another equalizer, but instead saw Landeskog bury an empty-net shot with 10 seconds left on the clock.
The Avs climbed back to the top of the scoresheet 3:12 into the third after Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes was called for cross checking Samuel Girard.
Devon Toews sent a slick pass to Makar, who unleashed a rocket from the top of the faceoff circle to make it 3-2 just 10 seconds into the power play.
The Avs were 3 for 5 with the man advantage Wednesday while the Canucks went scoreless on three power plays.
Vancouver came into the game with the worst penalty kill in the league. It killed just 62.3 per cent of the penalties it faced across the first 16 games of the year.
The Canucks briefly took the lead 1:30 into the third when Poolman scored his first goal in a Canucks’ jersey. His shot from the top of the faceoff circle hit Keumper and got caught under the goalie’s pads before trickling over the goal line to put Vancouver up 2-1.
The home side had little time to celebrate, though — seconds later, Alex Chiasson was called for elbowing.
The ensuing penalty kill saw Demko lunge across the goalmouth before Kadri tapped a puck into the yawning net to knot the score at 2-2.
Pushing and shoving followed the goal, and both Rantanen and Vancouver forward J.T. Miller were sent to the box for roughing.
The Canucks were the dominant side through much of the second period, and outshot the Avs 15-7 across the frame.
The period ended with officials sending three players to the penalty box in less than 30 seconds of play.
Vancouver’s woeful penalty kill got to work after captain Bo Horvat was booked for hooking on Rantenan, a call he appeared to dispute with the ref as he skated to the box.
Demko robbed Gabriel Landeskog on the doorstep with a splits save, but there was bad news after the whistle blew, with forward Tyler Motte sanctioned for tripping Makar. The penalty gave the Avs a minute and 29 seconds of five-on-three hockey.
Just four seconds into the advantage, Kadri was called for interference on J.T. Miller.
Vancouver levelled the score at 8:52 of the second following heavy pressure on the Avs’ net.
Garland had a shot at one side of the net blocked, with the puck bouncing out to Jason Dickinson at the top of the crease. Dickinson got a piece of the puck and sent it rolling through the blue paint as Garland made his way to the other side of the net in time to tap a backhanded shot in behind Keumper’s skate for his fourth goal of the year.
The Canucks followed the tally with a great two-on-one just moments later, but Keumper got a piece of Nils Hoglander’s shot, sending it up and out of play.
Colorado got off to a hot start Wednesday, outshooting the homeside 9-1 in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Alex Newhook had a prime opportunity when he tried to jam a puck in from the top of the crease, only to see Demko make the stop. Russian rookie Vasily Podkolzin was called for hooking Newhook on the play.
The Avs capitalized on the man advantage at the 7:17 mark with Rantenan blasting a wrist shot over Demko’s glove for his sixth goal of the season.
The Canucks continue a three-game homestand Friday when they host the Winnipeg Jets. The Avs will take on the Kraken in Seattle the same night.
NOTES: Chants of “Fire Benning” broke out in the upper bowl midway through the third period, referring to Canucks general manager Jim Benning. … Colorado defenceman Bowen Byram was scratched from the lineup after suffering a concussion in the Avs’ win over the Canucks last week. The former Vancouver Giants star has yet to play an NHL game in Vancouver.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2021.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press