NEW YORK – Logan O’Connor scored twice in a 22-second span in a five-goal second period, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Rangers 7-3 on Wednesday night, ending New York's seven-game winning streak.
Mikko Rantanen also scored twice for Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon, Nazem Kadri and Alex Newhook added goals, and Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves. Kadri, Devon Toews and Samuel Girard each had two assists as the Avalanche improved to 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. They also scored seven times in a 7-5 win at Philadelphia on Monday.
“We're shooting the puck again. The power play looked good and I liked what we're doing offensively,'' Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “And Darcy got better as the game went on.”
Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba had a goal and an assist and delivered a crushing check in the second straight game. One night after appearing to drive his right shoulder into the chin of Chicago's Jujhar Khaira, sending the Blackhawks' forward to the hospital and into concussion protocol, Trouba hit MacKinnon with a shoulder check midway through the second period. The Avalanche's Gabriel Landeskog immediately dropped his gloves and squared off against Trouba.
MacKinnon, who broke a nine-game scoring drought, returned for the start of the third period after taking the hit from Trouba and leaving at 11:11 of the second.
“I don't think I have a reputation as a dirty hitter,'' Trouba said. ”I play the game hard."
Trouba also said he didn't think his hit on Khaira was malicious, and that he had exchanged texts with the Blackhawks player a day after the play in Chicago in a game the Rangers won 6-2.
“It was very scary, unfortunate," Trouba said. "He was telling me he’s doing okay, so that’s good to see. But obviously no one wants to see that. No one plays the game to see guys get injured or injure guys.”
Nils Lundkvist scored his first goal and Filip Chytil also scored for the Rangers, who lost at home for the first time since Oct. 25 against Calgary.
Rangers rookie Adam Huska made his NHL debut and finished with 32 saves. Huska was recalled Dec. 4 to back up Alexandar Georgiev after starter Igor Shesterkin was injured on Dec. 3 against San Jose.
The Rangers had won eight straight games at Madison Square Garden and, even with the loss, are 17-5-3, one of the best starts in franchise history. Rangers coach Gerard Gallant put the defeat in perspective.
“We opened the door for them. We turned some pucks over'' he said. ”They are a dangerous team. ... The game's over, you move on. You get ready for the next game in Buffalo."
The Avalanche are averaging a league-best 4.26 goals-per-game and are the only team to score seven goals five times this season.
“Our offense was clicking out there,'' said O'Connor, who hadn't scored in 10 games. ”It was nice to have that second-period burst. It shifts the energy in the building and on their bench and ours."
NOTES: The Rangers and Avalanche last met in Denver on March 11, 2020, New York’s last game before the pandemic shutdown. … Their previous MSG meeting was Jan. 7, 2020, when Igor Shesterkin made his NHL debut in a 5-3 Rangers win. … Rangers defenseman Adam Fox played his 150th career game and had his seven-game assist streak snapped. … The Rangers scratched defenseman Libor Hajek and Jarred Tinordi plus center Morgan Barron. … The Avalanche scratched center Jayson Megna and defenseman Bowen Byram.
Rangers: Visit Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Avalanche: Host Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.
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