Compher’s 2 short-handed goals lead Avs past Coyotes 5-1
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — J.T. Compher was just trying to play his game and contribute after 16 games out of the Colorado Avalanche lineup due to injury. He ended up with a memorable night.
Compher scored a pair of short-handed goals on the same penalty kill in his return to game action, and the Avalanche defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-1 Friday night.
“Just trying to get a feel for the game. We’ve been working hard these last few weeks once I’ve been feeling better to be in good hockey shape and feel confident about my game,” Compher said. “It was a fun one for sure.”
Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves in his fifth win and first shutout of the season. Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and assist, and Tyson Barrie also scored for the Avalanche.
Colorado has earned points in six straight games, with victories in five of contests.
Dylan Strome scored a power-play goal in the third period as the Coyotes lost for the fourth time in five games.
Compher scored twice in less than 1:30 on the Coyotes’ first power pay of the game. His first goal came at 7:28 of the first when Matt Nieto gathered the puck off a turnover, drew two defensemen and dished off to Compher, who scored on a clear shot.
At 8:53, with the Coyotes still on the man advantage, Compher scored on a breakaway. It was his fifth goal in six games played. Compher had been out since Oct. 16 with a head injury.
Antti Raanta had a rocky return, starting in net for the first time since Nov. 2 and surrendering three first-period goals. The Coyotes’ No. 1 goaltender missed eight games with a lower body injury before finishing with 34 saves on Friday.
“The first one’s a straight shot, you have to make that save,” Raanta said. “It was three-nothing and the game was pretty much over. Rough start for sure. You give three goals in three shots, you’re pretty much burying your whole team.”
The Avalanche went ahead 3-0 on Rantanen’s goal. It came at 9:39 of the first when linemate Gabriel Landeskog flipped a pass up the ice and over the defense to Rantanen, who beat Raanta for his ninth goal of the season.
The Avalanche’s high-scoring top line of Rantanen, Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon added to their combined point total with six points. The group has 94 points this season.
“One any given night, it’s being led by our top guys,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “It was a pretty good all-around game for our guys.”
MacKinnon assisted on Barrie’s goal at 6:11 of the third period, and got an assist on Landeskog’s power-play goal with 4:19 to play in the game.
“Watching those guys every night has been a real treat,” Compher said. “They compete night in and night out.”
The Coyotes’ four-goal loss was their worst at home this season.
“It’s disheartening. You’re prepared game-plan wise but it takes ownership of a player to be ready to play,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said.
NOTES: Actor Vince Vaughn, of “Old School” and “Wedding Crashers” movie fame, dropped the ceremonial puck before the game, then threw it to fans in the seats. ... Coyotes D Jordan Oesterle was scratched for the second straight game ... Avalanche F Gabriel Bourque was scratched for just the third time this season. ... Colorado is one of two Western Conference teams with eight road victories this season.
Colorado: Hosts the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
Arizona: Hosts the Calgary Flames on Sunday afternoon.