MONTREAL | Cale Makar scored to put Colorado ahead to stay late in the second period, Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist, and the Avalanche beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Thursday night.
Andre Burakovsky and Gabriel Landeskog also scored for the Avalanche, who bounced back from an ugly 8-3 loss at Toronto a night earlier.
“I think our team is really understanding of what we have to do on both sides of the puck in hockey games,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “And I think last night was a real example. In Toronto, we came out and they were more determined, they checked harder than we checked.”
Goalie Jonas Johansson made 19 saves for Colorado, playing on back-to-back nights because starter Darcy Kuemper is out with an upper-body injury.
“I was really proud of him,” Bednar said. “As a young goalie, generally we wouldn’t play our guy back-to-back but in this case he hasn’t played a lot of hockey and I wanted to see what he was made of tonight because last night was a tough night for him and for the team.
“He’s been working hard with us for months now and he’s only played a handful of games and this is an opportunity now for him to string some games together.”
Ben Charot scored for Montreal, and Jake Allen stopped 30 of 33 shots.
Colorado opened the scoring with a short-handed goal in the second period. Loan O’Connor passed to a wide-open Nichushkin in front of the net.
Chiarot leveled the score for Montreal with his fifth goal of the season. His slap shot from the point deflected off an Avalanche player and ringed off the post before beating Johansson.
The Avs regained the lead late in the second when Makar deflected Samuel Girard’s shot from the blue line for his 10th goal of the season.
Burakovsky gave Colorado a 3-1 advantage in the third period by tapping in a loose puck in front of the net.
Landeskog added an empty-netter with 2:49 left.
Before the game, coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed that forward Brendan Gallagher and defenseman Sami Niku have tested positive for COVID-19, ruling them out for at least 10 days. Josh Anderson will be out for two to four weeks with an upper body injury, Ducharme said.
FANS HAVE HAD ENOUGH
A fan, seemingly frustrated by the Canadiens’ recent poor play, threw a Habs jersey on the ice during the third period.
“I saw it. It’s not a good feeling for the players,” said forward Nick Suzuki, who wears No. 14. “I think it was one of my jerseys so, I don’t know if it was, but I thought I saw a four.”
The Canadiens fired general manager Marc Bergevin on Sunday but have lost two games since.
“It’s tough to get booed but the fans want to see wins, they’re used to productive teams and we’re not doing that right now,” said Suzuki. “I can definitely see why they’re getting angry.”
Avalanche: At Ottawa on Saturday.
Canadiens: At Nashville on Saturday.