December 24, 2019 / 6:11 AM / 2 months ago

Avalanche pile on Golden Knights 7-3

EditorsNote: changes to “past 11 starts” in second graf; adds “in a regular-season game” in third graf

Dec 23, 2019; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Joonas Donskoi (72) controls the puck away from Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt (88) during the first period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored two goals, and Valeri Nichushkin added a goal and assist to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night in Las Vegas.

It was the first two-goal game of Bellemare’s career. Gabriel Landeskog, playing in his 600th NHL game, scored a goal for Colorado, as did Mikko Rantanen, Matt Nieto and Nazem Kadri. J.T. Compher added two assists while Pavel Francouz had 29 saves to improve to 9-0-1 in his past 11 starts.

Max Pacioretty, William Carrier and Ryan Reaves scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 31 saves while allowing seven goals in a regular-season game for just the second time in his career.

Bellemare gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at the 4:37 mark of the first period, cutting inside defenseman Shea Theodore in the left circle and then beating Fleury with a backhand.

Vegas tied it midway through the period when Reaves’ shot from the right circle caromed off the pads of Francouz but then was knocked into the net by the stick of Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Reaves was credited with his fourth goal of the season.

Nieto put Colorado back in front 2-1 about four minutes later with a short-handed goal, taking a pass from Compher and then breaking and beating Fleury with a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net for his sixth goal of the season.

Kadri then made it 3-1 two minutes later when he stole the puck from Mark Stone and fired a shot that bounced off Fleury’s pads and ricocheted in off Stone’s skate for his 12th goal of the season.

Pacioretty cut it to 3-2 midway through the second period when he tapped in a rebound of his own shot for his team-leading 16th goal. But Colorado answered with two goals in less than three minutes.

Landeskog got the first on a power play at 14:06 with a wrist shot from the left circle that squirted under Fleury’s left arm for his eighth goal of the season. Bellemare made it 5-2 when he picked up a loose puck at the bottom of the left circle and then spun around and fired a shot into the top right corner for his sixth goal of the season.

Carrier made it 5-3 early in the third period, but Rantanen answered with a power-play goal less than two minutes later. Nichushkin ended the scoring with just 3:07 to go.

—Field Level Media

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