Avalanche ride fast start to 5-2 win over Coyotes (Mar 10, 2018)

DENVER (AP) Blake Comeau and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist in a first-period burst, goaltender Jonathan Bernier won his ninth straight home game but left in the third period for an undisclosed reason and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 on Saturday.

Tyson Barrie also scored early as Colorado had three goals in the opening 4:22 to take a 3-1 advantage. The Avalanche rode the torrid start to another win at the Pepsi Center, where they’ve gone 14-1-1 since Dec. 29.

Tyson Jost and Mikko Rantanen scored in the third to seal the win and help Colorado snap a streak of three straight overtime losses. The team remains in the thick of the playoff chase a season after finishing last in the league.

Bernier was replaced by Semyon Varlamov midway through the third. This may have played a role: Bernier had a shot hit him flush in the mask during the second period. He’s been out with a concussion since leaving the game on Feb. 16 at Winnipeg.

Still, Bernier stopped 22 shots to match the longest home win streak in franchise history, which was set by Dan Bouchard in 1983-84 when the team was in Quebec.

Varlamov turned back four shots in relief.

Christian Dvorak and Richard Panik added goals for Arizona, a surging team that’s gone 9-3-2 in over its last 14 games.

Panik’s goal late in the second period cut the score to 3-2. The Coyotes were caught with too many men on the ice in the third and Jost batted in a puck for a power-play goal. Just 1:55 later, Rantanen added another to make it 5-2.

Things turned testy soon after, with Sven Andrighetto and Oliver Ekman-Larsson pushing each other and several others joining in.

Arizona goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped 26 shots with starter Antti Raanta scratched due to a lower-body injury.

Nathan MacKinnon had two assists to increase his league lead in home scoring to 59 points. The speedy forward also fired up the crowd when he dropped the gloves late in the first period after taking issue with a hit delivered on Rantanen by Arizona’s Jordan Martinook. MacKinnon and Martinook each received penalties for fighting.

NOTES: Arizona F Derek Stepan limped off the ice in the third period after blocking a shot by D Nikita Zadorov. Earlier in the period, F Laurent Dauphin was hit in the left knee by a Zadorov shot. … Avs D Erik Johnson (upper body) skated Friday, but coach Jared Bednar doesn’t have a timetable for his return. … Colorado improved to 6-1-0 on its Military Appreciation Day. The team wore camouflage jerseys during warmups.

UP NEXT

Coyotes: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Avalanche: Begin a two-game trip Tuesday in Minnesota.

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