The Associated Press
DENVER–The Colorado Avalanche broke up their top line and broke out of their funk.
Just the sort of breakthrough they needed to salvage their season.
Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Calvert scored 11 seconds apart in the third period, Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves in another strong performance and the Avalanche routed the Winnipeg Jets 7-1 last night.
Carl Soderberg, Mikko Rantanen, Tyson Jost, Gabriel Landeskog and A.J. Greer also scored to help Colorado win two in a row for the first time since late November. In addition, MacKinnon’s power-play goal snapped an 0-for-29 dry spell on the man advantage.
“We’re trending in the right direction,” Landeskog said.
The Avalanche recently split up one of the top lines in hockey of Landeskog, MacKinnon and Rantanen to bolster a stagnant offence. It’s paying off with Colorado scoring 10 goals over the last two games.
“Every time I draw up the lineup that’s what I’m hoping for,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “The last couple games have been really good.”
Varlamov followed a 40-save shutout performance Monday by clamping down on the Jets. The only score Varlamov allowed was to Kyle Connor in the third period with Colorado staked to a 4-0 lead.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 39 shots for Winnipeg, which lost to the Avalanche for the second time inside of a week. What’s more, the Central Division-leading Jets drop to 2-4-2 over their last eight games.
It’s left coach Paul Maurice searching for answers.
“You know what, fellas, you’re not getting much from me tonight,” Maurice said. “We weren’t very good. We weren’t very good. I’ll fix it tomorrow. You guys have a wonderful day.”
Jets forward Adam Lowry had a more succinct response.
“We were terrible. Unacceptable,” Lowry said.
In other NHL action, the Blackhawks edged the Red Wings 5-4; the Flames singed the Islanders 4-2; and the Bruins felled the Golden Knights 3-2.