Avalanche top Canadiens 3-2 in OT for 15th straight home win
DENVER (AP) — Gabriel Landeskog scored 1:16 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday night for their 15th straight win at home.
Colorado became the first NHL team to win 15 consecutive home games since the Washington Capitals did it Jan. 1 to March 4, 2017. The Avalanche took their previous two home games in shootouts and have won six in a row overall.
“Tonight definitely wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t anywhere near our best, but it is a strength to be able to find a way to win those hockey games no matter where you are in the standings and where the other team is in the standings,” Landeskog said. “There are no easy games. Absolutely, big to win another one at home.”
Landeskog got the winner, his 15th goal of the season, off Valeri Nichushkin’s feed. His one-timer on a pass across the front of the net beat Cayden Primeau.
Nichushkin also had a goal after missing three games while in health and safety protocols.
“Lately we’ve seen how big he is when he is in the lineup,” Landeskog said. “He’s a big part of that line with (Nazem Kadri) and (Andre Burakovsky). It starts with his hard work.”
Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist, and Artturi Lehkonen also scored for the struggling Canadiens, who took another tough loss on their 10-game road trip. Montreal has just one win on the trip, and four of its losses have come in overtime.
The Canadiens nearly stole a game from the hottest team in the NHL thanks to Primeau. He made 43 saves in place of Sam Montembeault, who was ruled out with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.
“He was very solid. He was very good. I was happy with the way he tackled the game,” Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme said of Primeau. “He was solid for 60 minutes and did a good job of preparing for his game and he was ready. And we’re happy to see a young goalie like that facing one of the best teams in the NHL showing character and playing a good game.”
The Avalanche took a 2-0 lead on power-play goals by Alex Newhook and Nichushkin in the first and second periods, respectively. Primeau kept it close with 22 saves in the first period and 10 more in the second.
“That helps you get into the game early when you’re seeing a bunch of shots,” Primeau said. “And credit to the guys. I know it’s cliche, but they blocked a bunch and put their bodies on the line. So yeah, they could have had even more shots but the guys definitely helped out.”
Montreal had several odd-man rushes in the second and cashed in on a 2-on-1 when Lehkonen beat Darcy Kuemper just inside the right post at 18:17.
Kuemper finished with 28 saves two nights after making 40 in a win at Los Angeles.
“It was another great goalie performance,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “If we don’t get the goalie performances we did the last three games then we don’t win all three, that’s for sure. We might come up with one — two might be a reach.”
Kadri had a goal overturned early in the third when the Canadiens challenged for offside. They tied it on Suzuki’s power-play goal at 8:06.
NOTES: Canadiens LW Jonathan Drouin was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury sustained Thursday at Vegas. He returned to Montreal, the team said. ... Devon Toews finished with three assists and Sam Girard had two for Colorado. ... Canadiens RW Brendan Gallagher (lower-body injury) is close to returning. He has not played since Dec. 30.
Canadiens: At the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.
Avalanche: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.
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