EditorsNote: Makes a few smaller cosmetic changes to the first few grafs
J.T. Compher made a dazzling return to Colorado’s lineup with a pair of short-handed goals on a first-period penalty kill as the Avalanche earned a 5-1 win over the host Arizona Coyotes on Friday in Glendale, Ariz.
NHL points leader Mikko Rantanen also scored for the Avalanche, shortly after Compher’s first-period shorties, to give Colorado a commanding 3-0 lead against Arizona goalie Antti Raanta just 10 minutes into the contest.
Compher became the fourth player in the past 15 years with two short-handed goals in a span of less than two minutes.
A tally by Tyson Barrie in the third period stretched the defenseman’s point streak to seven games, and Gabriel Landeskog scored his 14th goal on his 26th birthday on assists by Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon.
Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 37 shots. He ran his record to 5-1-2 this season as Semyon Varlamov’s backup.
The Avalanche improved to 5-0-1 in their last six contests and swept a three-game road swing against the Pacific Division.
Dylan Strome tapped in his third goal of the season at 13:02 of the final period to break up Grubauer’s shutout bid.
Raanta returned in goal for the Coyotes after missing three weeks and eight games with a lower-body injury. He made 34 saves as his record evened at 5-5-0 as Arizona dropped its third straight.
Compher last played on Oct. 13, returning to the lineup after a 16-game absence due to a head injury. He immediately contributed with the Avalanche killing a penalty.
With Rantanen in the box for hooking, Matt Nieto sprinted out and dropped a pass back to the trailing Compher, who ripped in a shot from atop the right circle at 7:28.
The left winger connected again on the same kill just 85 seconds later on a breakaway, roofing his fifth of the season over Raanta’s glove for an unassisted goal and a 2-0 lead.
Rantanen returned to the ice and scored his ninth goal at 9:39. The right winger scored when Landeskog popped an aerial pass over two defenders in the neutral zone, sending a streaking Rantanen in by himself for the marker.
Barrie finished off his third goal this season at 6:11 of the third period to make it 4-0 when he whipped in a cross-ice feed from MacKinnon, before Strome and Landeskog had goals to round out the scoring.
—Field Level Media