Nichushkin stays hot in Avalanche win against Golden Knights
LAS VEGAS — Valeri Nichushkin scored to extend his season-opening point streak to six games, and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
Nathan MacKinnon and Evan Rodrigues also scored for Colorado (3-2-1), which was coming off a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Friday. Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves.
“(We were) way cleaner with the puck. More predictable to one another,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We just played our structure and the way we were supposed to play. Better commitment to defend throughout the game.”
Jonathan Marchessault and Chandler Stephenson scored, and Mark Stone and Jack Eichel each had two assists for Vegas (4-2-0). Logan Thompson made 22 saves.
“You know you got to be ready to go, and that was the disappointing part that they were able to outplay us in our building,” Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “The things with Colorado, you can’t mismanage it. They’re too talented and fast.”
Nichushkin put the Avalanche ahead 3-1 at 8:10 of the third period with a coast-to-coast goal. After skating through the neutral zone, he deked Brayden McNabb, cut back inside and lifted a shot over Thompson’s glove.
Nichushkin has 11 points (six goals, five assists) during his point streak.
“He’s found his scoring touch,” Bednar said. “Some guys have kind of bounced back, and with the focus and preparation needed are ready to go because they haven’t been off the ice long. They didn’t have to go through three, four or five months of summer training. They’re just kind of back in the groove right away, and he’s definitely one of them and has been leading the charge for us.”
Stephenson cut it to 3-2 at 10:32 with a one-timer from the low slot.
“The disappointing part was the third period … timely goals right?” Cassidy said. “Happened a little bit in Calgary (3-2 loss on Tuesday) where there’s is a little better than ours, and same tonight. They outscored us 2-1 on the [power play], and that ended up being the difference in the game.”
MacKinnon put Colorado in front 1-0 at 5:38 of the first period with a one-timer from the top of the left circle on the power play.
Marchessault tied it at 1-1 at 19:17 with his own power-play goal, a one-timer off a backhand pass from Stone.
“We can play with those guys (Colorado and Calgary),” Marchessault said. “We came up short both games. Our consistency and full 60-minute effort needs to be better.”
Rodrigues responded with a similar goal to MacKinnon’s to make it 2-1 at 6:20 of the second period. He scored off the right post with a one-timer from the top of the left circle on the power play.
“When I get a chance to shoot it, just letting it fly,” Rodrigues said. “I like to be a shooter. Hopefully we continue to get going here.”
NOTES: The Avalanche were 2-for-2 on the power play. … Stone’s assist on Marchessault’s goal was his 300th in the NHL.