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Avalanche bounces back from resounding loss with 4-1 win over Canadiens

MONTREAL – Defenseman Cale Makar continued his two-week scoring frenzy on Thursday night and goaltender Jonas Johansson redeemed himself after allowing eight goals on Wednesday as the Avalanche tied their record to 1-1 on a trip of five road games.

Colorado got goals from shorthanded Valeri Nichushkin, Makar, Andre Burakovsky and Gabe Landeskog in a 4-1 win over the struggling Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center. Johansson faced 41 shots in Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to Toronto, but saw just 20 against the suddenly oppressed 2021 Stanley Cup finalist, who fell to 6-17-2.

“I thought we were playing hard. We checked very well this evening. I reduced the chances of scoring (against) in the three periods, ”said Avs coach Jared Bednar. “JJ rebounding in goal was important to us (and) the shortage (4-5) was really good. We did enough good things throughout the 60 minutes to win the hockey game. We needed this.

The Avs (12-7-1) have scored eight goals from Makar since November 17. The 23-year-old continues to lead all NHL defensemen in goals scored and is now tied with winger Mikko Rantanen for a record 10. But Makar said his 10th goal should go to Landeskog.

“I saw that Landy was coming and I just decided to shoot that one and Landy tipped about it. Good goal,” said Makar. “Landy scored. He tipped.

The Avs, who outscored the Canadiens 13-4 in the first period, scored the first goal of the game as they were shorthanded 3:11 of the second. Relentless forward Logan O’Connor used a solid forward chess to cause a turnaround and gain possession behind the Montreal goal line. O’Connor handed the puck to Nichushkin, who slid it through the legs of goalie Jake Allen.

“OC is obviously a very tenacious player,” Makar said of O’Connor, another Calgary native. “He just chased the ice puck and made an amazing turnover play and brought it to Val. He’s been an incredible player for us this year.

It was Colorado’s fifth shorthanded total of the season, tying Vegas for most in the league. O’Connor’s assist was his third shorthanded point, also tied for first in the NHL.

Montreal tied 3:40 later when defenseman Ben Chiarot beat Johansson with a long shot from the right post. The Avs responded with a goal from a defenseman, with Makar scoring with a long shot through traffic at 3:49 pm. Burakovsky scored early in the third period and Landeskog added some extra insurance late in the period.

Johansson was making his second straight start because Wednesday’s scheduled starter Darcy Kuemper injured his upper body during morning practice in Toronto.

“It feels really good. Last night I don’t think anyone was happy with this game, including me, ”said Johansson. “Really nice to come back and get two points tonight. “

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