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Avalanche uses hot start to defeat Blackhawks in season opener – The Denver Post

Wednesday’s opening night could be the start of thunderous moments throughout the season at the Ball Arena, where the Stanley Cup Avalanche came out humming past the first capacity crowd in the building since March 11. 2020.

Minus center superstar Nathan MacKinnon and head coach Jared Bednar – both on COVID protocol – the Avs played distraction-free hockey as they beat the legendary Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.

Colorado scored goals from Jack Johnson and Gabe Landeskog at 1:22 early in the first period and led 3-0, thanks to rookie Bo Byram, at just 9:34. The Avs outscored the Blackhawks 16-2 in the first 11 minutes before the Blackhawks regrouped after taking their time out.

“(A quick start) was something we talked about, just getting ready,” said Avs center Nazem Kadri, who scored the fourth goal. “A good start always helps increase your chances, so scoring that first goal was big and it worked tonight. “

Chicago scored a power-play goal to reduce the deficit, but new Avs goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped all 13 shots he faced in the second period as Colorado extended their lead to 4-1 with a Kadri’s late goal.

Landeskog, Byram and Kadri also each got an assist in the multi-point matches. Landeskog left the game with 3:34 left after being assessed as a minor collision and roughness after delivering a big blow to Kirby Dach. This led to a 6-on-4 attack on Kuemper after Blackhawks goaltender Marc-André Fleury was pulled out for an additional forward, but the last-ditch effort turned out to be empty.

The Blackhawks got their second goal from defenseman Connor Murphy with 4:29 left.

Kuemper finished with 34 saves in what was to be considered a formidable start with his new club.