Avalanche move into Central leadThe official game recap Vancouver Canucks vs Colorado Avalanche.
The Colorado Avalanche jumped into first place in the Central Division with a 4-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Thursday.
Defenseman Tyson Barrie scored another big goal for the Avalanche in their impressive turnaround season, burying the game-winning goal after keeping the puck on a 2-on-1 break with 7:30 left in the third period
Barrie toe-dragged defenseman Alexander Edler down and out as he cut into the middle of the ice, and then used teammate Maxime Talbot as a decoy before firing the puck past goalie Jacob Markstrom high on the blocker side. It was the 22-year-old defenseman's 13th goal, five of which have been game-winners.
Paul Stastny scored two goals, John Mitchell scored into an empty net with 43 seconds left, and Semyon Varlamov made 38 saves for the Avalanche, who extended their season-best point streak to nine games (8-0-1) and matched a Colorado record with their 52nd win of the season.
Colorado and the St. Louis Blues each have 111 points with two games left. The Avalanche, who hold the tiebreaker over St. Louis, also moved four points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks and are now guaranteed home-ice advantage in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Varlamov made some great stops late, including a glove stop on Edler who was alone in the slot with five minutes left to play, to preserve his 41 st win of the season, breaking the Colorado record set by coach Patrick Roy in 2001.
Henrik Sedin and David Booth scored, and defenseman Dan Hamhuis had two assists for the Canucks, who were eliminated from playoff contention Monday, fired president and general manager Mike Gillis on Tuesday, and named former captain Trevor Linden president of hockey operations Wednesday.
Markstrom made 24 saves in his first start with the Canucks since being acquired from the Florida Panthers as part of the Roberto Luongo trade March 4. It was Markstrom's first NHL start since Dec. 20, but the promising 6-foot-6 Swedish goaltender is still looking for his first NHL win since Oct. 11.
Sedin opened the scoring on a deflection at the side of the crease, knocking Hamhuis' point shot through traffic past Varlamov low on the blocker side.
Stastny tied it less than five minutes later on a breakaway. After stealing the puck from rookie Nicklas Jensen at the Colorado blue line, Stastny skated in alone and snapped a quick shot through Markstrom's five-hole before he could get down.
Stastny put the Avalanche ahead 5:21 into the third period. Markstrom made a good right-pad save on defenseman Erik Johnson's one-timer off a nice pass from rookie Nathan MacKinnon, but the rebound went to Stastny alone in the slot, and he quickly fired in his 25th goal high on the blocker side.
Booth tied it 1:39 later, corralling the puck after a Hamhuis point shot bounced off the end boards and beating Varlamov high from the side of the net.
-- by Kevin Woodley for NHL.com --
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11/04/2014 - 07:00