Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon get 3 points apiece as Avs top Coyotes

Cale Makar was expected.

Returning to the Avalanche roster after missing two games with a lower-body injury, he pushed the Colorado offense into action after a dismal start to the second period. By the third, the missed chances were piling up against the defiant Coyotes, still more of a headache than they should be.

Makar continued to create and was rewarded with the game-winning goal on a 3-1 Avalanche rebound Friday night at Ball Arena. With Mikko Rantanen on Arizona goaltender Karel Vejmelka, Makar broke it between the circles, giving Colorado the lead with 13:19 left.

“I just try to get the pucks to the net,” Makar said. “I feel like we struggled to do this all night.”

The Avs (42-23-6) are back to within two points of the Central Division lead, with a game less against Dallas and Minnesota.

They battled the Coyotes with two power-play goals, including JT Compher’s insurance rebound with 8:43 left, and with three-point nights for Makar and Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon is posting an 11-game point streak, and Makar kind of caught fire even more. The defenseman has 18 points in his last eight games, bringing his rate per game for the season to 1.14.

“I don’t know if it’s just me individually,” Makar said, attributing his attacking success to the team’s push. “It’s just guys in general.”

“He’s modest,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “You see what he’s doing. He begins to take over the game.

After MacKinnon and Clayton Keller traded goals in the first period, the Avalanche had no shots on net for the first seven minutes of the second period. Then Makar buzzed the crossbar with a shot from the point, and it seemed to ignite and everyone around him.

Makar had a fantastic play with the puck moments later, weaving between the Coyotes behind the net, but Vejmelka made an even more remarkable sliding save on the wrap attempt.

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