Stanley Cup champion Avalanche toy with Red Wings en route to 5-1 victory
Published in Hockey
DETROIT — There remains a sizeble talent gap between the Red Wings and Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche used productive afternoons from many of their stars Saturday in defeating the Red Wings, 5-1, at Little Caesars Arena.
Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists, Mikko Rantanen scored his 46th goal, Cale Makar had three assists and Devon Toews had a goal. They all were keys in last year's championship run, and the Avalanche (40-22-6) rolled to their fifth consecutive victory.
Pius Suter had the Wings' goal, while goaltender Ville Husso stopped 16 of 21 shots before being mercifully replaced by Magnus Hellberg in the third period.
The defeat continued a disappointing stretch of hockey for the Wings.
Since the Wings (30-29-9) defeated the New York Rangers Feb. 23 to climb above the playoff cutline, they've only won two of 11 games (2-8-1).
Bowen Byram, a young player growing into Avalanche stardom, added a power-play goal, and Lars Eller scored short-handed while goalie Alexandar Georgiev stopped 33 shots for a Colorado team that appears to be getting stronger as the season progresses.
Toews opened the scoring (fifth goal) in the first period with a shot from just inside the blue line that eluded a screened Husso at 5:01.
But the Wings answered, with Suter scoring his 12th goal at 6:55. Dylan Larkin gathered the puck and fed a trailing Suter, who snapped a well-placed shot over Georgiev tying the score.
It stayed that way through one period, but the Avalanche gradually took control with MacKinnon and Makar leading the way.
MacKinnon scored his 30th goal to break the 1-1 tie.
Denis Malgin found a streaking MacKinnon, who got the dot and whistled a shot past Husso at 7:24 of the second period, Makar drawing the second assist.
After the Wings denied one Colorado power play, they weren't able to do so with the Avalanche enjoying a four-on-three man advantage.
Makar placed the puck perfectly to Byram for the one-timer from the hash marks, Byram's seventh goal, at 17:37, giving Colorado a 3-1 lead and essentially putting the game out of reach entering the third period.
Defenseman Simon Edvinsson, the Wings' 2021 first-round draft pick making his NHL debut, played just over 13 minutes with one shot and a minus-one rating.
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