WASHINGTON (AP) — Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon scored, Alexandar Georgiev made 32 saves and the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche beat the Washington Capitals 4-0 on Saturday night for their second consecutive victory.
MacKinnon also had two assists for the Avalanche. They have won six of seven games despite missing several injured regulars, including captain Gabriel Landeskog, winger Valeri Nichushkin and defensemen Samuel Girard and Bowen Byram.
MacKinnon made the highlight of the night deking around former Colorado teammate Nicolas Aube-Kubel with a fancy move a day after lamenting, “We have half our team out right now, and we’re still finding ways to win.”
Having Makar and MacKinnon on top of their games is a major reason for that. The combination of the reigning playoff MVP /Norris Trophy-winning defenseman and the face of the franchise has the Avalanche cruising amid all the injures that have ravaged their roster.
Makar scored on a 5-on-3 power play in the first period and MacKinnon at even strength in the second, beating Darcy Kuemper, the goaltender who backstopped Colorado to the Cup before departing in free agency to sign with Washington. Andrew Cogliano and Artturi Lehkonen also scored in the third period to make it four goals on 29 shots against Kuemper.
MacKinnon passed Mikko Rantanen for the team scoring lead with 27 points. Makar's fourth goal of the season — and 19th point in 16 games — came two days after he played a regular-season career-high 32:48 in a win at Carolina.
It has been more than a week since the Capitals won a game. Also hurt by injuries, they lost their fourth in a row and have dropped nine of their past 11.
They opened the game with 12 shots to the Avalanche's two but couldn't beat Georgiev, Kuemper's replacement who notched his first shutout with his new team.
NOTES: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov missed a seventh consecutive game because of injury. ... Injured Washington forwards Nicklas Backstrom (hip surgery) and T.J. Oshie (undisclosed) took part in the team's morning skate but remain out indefinitely. Coach Peter Laviolette said winger Tom Wilson, who tore the ACL in his left knee during the playoffs, has been working out off the ice and skated a bit with Backstrom.
Avalanche: Wrap up their three-game trip Monday night at Dallas.
Capitals: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press