February 5, 2023

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon and JT Compher each scored two goals to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-4 win over the Buffalo Sabers Thursday night.

MacKinnon added three assists and Compher had two assists for the Avalanche, who won for the fifth time in seven games. Artturi Lehkonen and Mikko Rantanen also scored for Colorado, and Alexandar Georgiev made 24 saves.

“He’s the leader for us every night and drives the bus, and tonight he did it again,” Compher said of MacKinnon. “He doesn’t always score the goals but it was nice to see him score a few tonight.”

Tage Thompson scored his 15th goal of the season and Alex Tuch, JJ Peterka and Dylan Cozens also scored for the Sabers, who have lost three of four. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 28 shots.

Buffalo led 2-1 after the first half, but Colorado finally took the lead when they scored twice in a 5-on-3 power play midway through the second half. MacKinnon made it 2-2 and Lehkonen scored 49 seconds later. MacKinnon added his second goal 2:04 after that to give the Avalanche a 4-2 lead.

“It was a big moment in the game and that was the best our power play has looked in (those) 45 seconds all year,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar. “We had a chance to score every 10 seconds until it went on the net.”

Cozen’s power play goal cut the lead to 4-3 at 5:55 in the second, but Compher’s second goal at 2:44 in the half period made it 5-3.

“I know (Cozens) is only 21 but he looks like a veteran playing with two younger guys,” said Sabers defenseman Mattias Samuelsson. “I think he’s really taken the next step and it’s fun to watch him do it.”

Tuch’s goal seven seconds into the third period cut the Avalanche’s lead to 5-4. The goal was his 200th NHL point.

MacKinnon thwarted a breakaway attempt by former Avalanche forward Tyson Jost 1:20 into the game.

“Great conscience for his play on the probing side of things, involved in that way, really good awareness of what they were trying to do, in a hurry and kind of undoing that, and then being able to, like that to answer as he did,” Bednar said.

Rantanen hit the empty net, his 14th, with 35 seconds to go.

Compher scored the first goal of the game, but Buffalo rallied with goals from Peterka and Thompson in the first period.

“Win or lose, you have to take something out of every game and there were things we didn’t like in the last game and parts we did better tonight,” Compher said. “Even though we won tonight, there are still things we can work on.”


Sabers defenseman Rasmus Dahlin played in his 300th game. Dahlin has the second-most points (186) in 300 games for a defenseman picked #1 in the draft. He is only behind Denis Potvin, who had 289 points.


MacKinnon passed teammate Gabriel Landeskog with 250 for sixth on the franchise goals list and passed Milan Hejduk for fifth on the franchise assists list with 431.


Avalanche: In Boston on Saturday night, the third game of a four-game trip.

Sabers: host San Jose on Sunday night.


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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