Jets get rolled 5-1 at home by Avalanche
WINNIPEG — J.T. Compher liked what four days between games did for the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche scored four goals on their first five shots en route to a 5-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday that extended their win streak to four games.
Compher, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and assist.
“We were rested and we got some good practise in this week,” said Compher, whose team last played at home Sunday in a 6-5 overtime victory against the Edmonton Oilers.
“We were ready right from the puck drop and continued it for 60 minutes tonight.”
Bowen Byram and Matt Nieto also scored for the Avalanche (32-19-5), who are 5-0-1 in their past six games and 12-2-2 in their last 16.
Alexander Georgiev made 26 saves for Colorado, which has also won four straight on the road.
Mason Appleton had the goal for the Jets (35-23-1), who are 1-4-0 in their past five games.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 21 of the 26 shots he faced in Winnipeg's first game of a three-game homestand at Canada Life Centre before he was replaced by David Rittich to start the third. Rittich made 10 saves.
Earlier in the week, Jets head coach Rick Bowness said the match against the surging division rivals was the “most important game of the year.”
The effort was a fail in his eyes.
"Well, we were asleep to start the game. No question,” Bowness said. “So you talk to the players and get their opinion. We were clearly asleep."
The Avalanche led 4-1 after the first period and 5-1 following the second.
“From the first shift, you saw, obviously, they capitalized on their chances,” Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon said. “They were quicker to pucks. They were physical. We got humbled tonight.”
Georgiev praised his teammates for making his night easier.
“Scored timely goals and played smart,” he said. “Managed to score some more in the second, and the third we shut them down completely.”
MacKinnon started Colorado's scoring barrage 19 seconds into the opening period when he registered his 20th goal of the season on a breakaway.
His goal marked the fastest game-opening goal by the Avalanche since he scored 11 seconds into an Oct. 13, 2018, contest.
“You want to give credit to them, they're a really good hockey team, but we didn't help ourselves tonight,” Appleton said. “We're a really good hockey team when we want to be. We were not that tonight.”
Winnipeg tied it at 3:12 on the power play after Appleton tipped in a Nate Schmidt blast from the point.
Rantanen made it 2-1 just 80 seconds later with his 37th of the season.
He was followed by Compher three minutes later and Byram bumped it to 4-1 at 10:58.
“Some time off this week to get some practice time in and some rest time, so that benefited us early in the game,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said.
“And then some really good discipline, structurally sound, made them earn all their chances. I thought we did a nice job on the defending side of it, moved the puck pretty efficiently tonight, so it turned out to be a pretty good performance for our group.”
The Jets had their second power play in the final two minutes of the period, but didn't get a shot on net. They were outshot 11-6 in the period.
Winnipeg changed its defensive pairings to start the second, but Nieto went to the front of the net and tapped in a pass from Compher to make it 5-1 at 10:59.
Jets centre Pierre-Luc Dubois was then sent to the penalty box for four minutes for cross-checking and unsportsmanlike conduct. A Colorado penalty shortened their advantage by a minute.
After Rittich entered the game for the final period, Winnipeg had two power plays but couldn't capitalize.
Colorado was 0-for-3 on the power play and Winnipeg went 1-for-5.
PILING UP POINTS
Some Avalanche are racking up impressive point streaks.
MacKinnon has 14 points in a six-game point run, including six goals. Compher has eight points in three straight games (two goals, six assists).
Jets: Host the New York Islanders on Sunday afternoon.
Avalanche: Fly home to take on the Calgary Flames Saturday night.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2023.
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press