MONTREAL – The Avalanche beat a struggling Original Six franchise hard Thursday after being pummeled by a streak streak Wednesday in Toronto. Calgary natives Cale Makar (winning goal) and Logan O’Connor (shorthanded assist) were key to the Avalanche’s 4-1 triumph over the Canadiens one night after losing 8-3 to the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
Five takeaways from the Bell Center:
JoJo is doing good. Goalkeeper Jonas Johansson was asked if he could recover from Wednesday’s bombardment – he allowed all eight goals on 41 shots – and feel good about himself preparing for Thursday. He told coach Jared Bednar he was ready to play and the 26-year-old Swede has generally played well, allowing just one power-play goal on 20 shots.
Johansson’s 4.50 goals against average in both games still hurts, but he finished 1-1 in the surprise absence of Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper, who presumably suffered an upper body injury during Wednesday morning training in Toronto, will remain with the squad and be evaluated further. After Thursday’s game, Bednar said Kuemper could be out for two days or two months, which may suggest he suffered a concussion.
Makar the magician. Defender Cale Makar scored the game-winning goal, his 10th overall in just 18 games for Avs this season. He is tied with winger Mikko Rantanen for most team goals and ranks first among all NHL D-men. Makar is already just two goals off his career high of 12, set in his 2019-20 rookie campaign (57 games).
Makar has reached 10 goals faster than any other Avalanche defender in club history. The previous record was 33 games, held by Rob Blake (2001-02) and Sandis Ozolinsh (1996-97).
The best offensive blue line. The Avalanche have arguably the most talented defensive body in the NHL – especially with Bo Byram in the roster – but one thing’s for sure: No NHL team has produced more D-goals. men than Avs (22).
The Colorado is dangerous up front and relatively lethal in the back. There is no argument there.
The old man EJ. Defenseman Erik Johnson, 33, played his 800th career NHL game in the regular season, becoming the 39th American-born defenseman in league history to reach that milestone. He is also the first defenseman in the 2006 draft class in which he was selected first overall.
Captain Landeskog. Left winger and team captain Gabe Landeskog scored the Avs fourth goal to extend his points streak to six games, a streak where he has eight points. Landeskog may also have touched the puck lightly on Makar’s goal, and he seemed to take credit for the tally, but reruns failed to conclude that he touched it. Yet he leads by example.