Kadri’s third-period goal lifts Avalanche over Kraken 4-3

By Michael Kelly

DENVER (AP) – Nazem Kadri scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period, and the surging Colorado Avalanche rallied to beat the Seattle Kraken 4-3 on Monday night.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel had two goals and Devon Toews also scored for Colorado, which beat former goalie Philipp Grubauer to win its franchise-best 12th straight at home and fifth in a row overall.

Grubauer, who had 31 saves, played the previous three seasons with the Avalanche. He received a warm reception from the crowd, who shouted “Gru” when he was first shown on the scoreboard. He was 30-9-1 in 40 games with Colorado last season but was a casualty of the salary cap, became a free agent in the summer and signed a six-year, $35.4 million deal with Seattle.

“I wasn’t sure if they were boos or Grus coming back here,” Grubauer said. “If it was a Gru, I definitely appreciate it. The love and the appreciation and the support I got here, it’s been incredible. Denver is always a special place in my heart, especially the fans, too. It feels amazing for sure.”

The Kraken had six games postponed since Dec. 18 and were playing for the first time since losing to Vancouver on Jan. 1 but showed little rust. Marcus Johansson, Jared McCann and Colin Backwell had goals to put Seattle ahead 3-1 in the second period.

“We played a darn good hockey game but at the end of the day you have to address what the result is,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “We didn’t come here to play a good hockey game, we came to win a hockey game.”

Aube-Kubel’s second goal of the game made it 3-2 and Toews tied it when the puck deflected off his right skate and in at 11:47 of the third. The goal was upheld upon review.

“I don’t know what the definition of a kick-in is,” Grubauer said. “Maybe you can find an answer for me.”

McCann and Johansson also had assists.

Kadri got the winner when he beat Grubauer high at 14:17 of the third for his 13th goal of the season.

“I had some room. I was looking to pass it, but I had some room to walk in and just wanted to stay aggressive and was able to find that short side,” said Kadri, who also had an assist Monday night.

Grubauer came off for an extra skater but the Kraken couldn’t get the equalizer against Pavel Francouz, who finished with 23 saves.

Avalanche captain and top-line forward Gabriel Landeskog tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and was placed in health and safety protocols. Andre Burakovsky moved up to the top line and finished with two assists.

“Of course it’s a big loss for us but we’re a good enough team to try to rebound and scrape together a few wins without him,” Kadri said. “Obviously he can’t be replaced and we’re much better with him but our team has shown a lot of maturity, a lot of character coming back in these type of fashions that I don’t think we would have handled the same way a year or two ago.”

NOTES: Avalanche D Ryan Murray was scratched after playing in the last two games. Murray missed 11 games with a lower-body injury before returning against Winnipeg on Thursday night. … Kraken RW Joonas Donskoi does not have a goal in 34 games this season. He had 17 goals in 51 games with Colorado last season. Donskoi was taken by Seattle in the expansion draft. … Avalanche RW Valeri Nichuskin was back in the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.