Vancouver Canucks snap skid with 4-2 win over struggling Colorado Avalanche
VANCOUVER — Andrei Kuzmenko scored twice and his Vancouver Canucks earned a much-needed win on Thursday by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Brock Boeser and JT
VANCOUVER — Andrei Kuzmenko scored twice and his Vancouver Canucks earned a much-needed win on Thursday by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-2.
Brock Boeser and JT Miller each added a goal for the Canucks (17-18-3), who faltered after losing three games and won their first game of 2023.
Elias Pettersson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each contributed two assists.
Mikko Rantanen and Samuel Girard answered for the Avs (19-15-3).
Vancouver’s Collin Delia stopped 29 of 31 shots and Alexandar Georgiev made 39 saves for Colorado.
The Avs are now without a five-game win (0-4-1) from October 26 to November 5, 2019 for the first time since a rough patch.
Colorado drew Georgiev with just over two minutes on the clock in favor of the additional attacker.
Pettersson caught a loose puck in the neutral zone and sliced a cross-ice pass to Miller, who slammed a close-range shot into the gaping net 18:24 into the third period.
The clean sheet marked Miller’s 14th goal of the season.
Avs center Darren Helm had a clear lead at 2:16 of the game, but Delia swallowed his wrist shot to keep the home side ahead.
After stuttering in the first half of the game, the Canucks broke out in the middle frame with three unanswered goals in two minutes and 33 seconds.
Kuzmenko started the offense with a power play goal to make it 13:15 in the second minute and scooped a backhand shot past Georgiev from the top of the crease after Toews was called on to hook.
Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson contributed an assist, marking the 300th assist of his NHL career.
A highlight roller game prepared Vancouver’s second goal of the evening.
Kuzmenko stuck the puck between his own legs and blasted Pettersson for a partial escape. Driving into the Colorado zone, the Sweden center took the puck around the net and landed a shot as it fell to the ice. Kuzmenko then forced the puck past Georgiev’s skate, leveling the game 2–2 with his 17th goal of the season.
Just 34 seconds later, Boeser scored the opening goal by pushing a ball-of-foot shot past the Avs goalkeeper from close range.
Georgiev responded by winding up his racquet several times and hitting the crossbar.
Colorado went 2-0 up in the second minute after Girard fired a missile from inside the blue line that sailed through traffic and appeared to hit defender Luke Schenn in the low slot on his way to the net.
An Avs power play tally opened the scoring at 7:00 p.m. after Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers was pitted to hook.
Stationed at the head of the faceoff circle, Rantanen fired a sharp shot through traffic for his 26th goal of the season.
WHISTLE, WHISTLE EVERYWHERE
Both sides saw their special teams tested on Thursday. Vancouver went 1 to 7 on the power play while Colorado was 1 to 5 with a man advantage.
ALL STAR PETEY
Pettersson is facing his third All-Star Game in the NHL after being named to the Pacific Division team on Thursday. The 24-year-old Canucks center leads his team in goals and is on track for a career-best season with 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) in 36 games.
– Avalanche: Faces the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday.
— Canucks: Start a five-game road swing against the Jets in Winnipeg on Saturday.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 5, 2023.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press