Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon score twice in Avalanche rout of Red Wings


It would have sounded ludicrous as recently as four days ago to credit the 2022-23 Avalanche with a feat of dominance equally impressive as the previous year’s team.

But the Stanley Cup-winning Avs only matched this one: a two-game stretch with a plus-10 goal differential.

Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon both scored twice, and with a faction of Red Wings fans almost outnumbering the home attendance at Ball Arena, the Avalanche tipped those scales in their favor with a commanding 6-3 win Monday. It would have been a plus-11 in the last two games if not for Detroit’s tally in the last 40 seconds.

After flailing four days ago when a loss at Chicago seemed unfathomable, the Avs (22-17-3) suddenly look like their old selves. They scored the first five goals on the heels of Saturday’s 7-0 win over Ottawa, before Detroit finally beat Pavel Francouz late in the second period.

This was the first time the Avalanche scored 10 unanswered goals since March 13-18 of last season (against Calgary, Los Angeles and San Jose), and their first time scoring a dozen unanswered since March 18-22, 2021 (against Minnesota, Minnesota and Arizona).

Fourteen different Avalanche skaters tallied a point during that 12-goal streak, including nine different forwards. After playing the first 40 games with a traditional lineup of 12 forwards and six defensemen, Colorado has gone 11 and seven back-to-back games with rewarding results.

Valeri Nichushkin (ankle) returned to the lineup after missing the last nine games since the holiday break. His net-front presence aided Makar’s first goal, a power play snipe from the blueline. Nichushkin was also credited with a secondary assist for his first point since Dec. 17.

That goal sent the Avalanche into first intermission with a multi-goal lead for the second consecutive game after they had accomplished that only once in the previous 27 games.


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