NHL: Avalanche knock off Canucks for fourth straight win

Mikko Rantanen collected one goal and one assist to pace the surging Colorado Avalanche to a 4-1 victory over the struggling Vancouver Canucks on Friday.

Andrew Cogliano, Valeri Nichushkin and Brad Hunt also scored for the defending Stanley Cup-champion Avalanche, who have won four straight games to move them into a wild-card position in the standings.

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Goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves and Nathan MacKinnon pocketed two assists to give him four goals and 15 points in a seven-game streak.

Colorado star defenseman Cale Makar missed a second consecutive game due to an upper-body injury, but did take part in the morning skate, a sign he may play Saturday against the Seattle Kraken.

Elias Pettersson replied for the Canucks, who have lost six of seven games and are on a 2-9-0 skid that has the hockey world expecting coach Bruce Boudreau to soon be relieved of his duties in what has been a trying season. Goalie Colin Delia stopped 25 shots.

Cogliano opened the scoring at the 11:32 mark. Alex Newhook won a board battle before sending the puck to Cogliano as he reached the slot, and he ripped a high shot for his seventh of the season.

Nichushkin’s power-play tally 34 seconds into the second period doubled the lead. During a five-on-three advantage, Nichushkin buried a loose puck from the doorstep for his eighth goal of what has been an injury-filled season — and his first goal since returning from his latest issue.

Rantanen converted during another five-on-three advantage just past the game’s midway point to extend the lead. The red-hot forward slipped a sharp-angled shot home for his fifth goal in four games and 32nd of the season.

Pettersson provided a bit of life for the struggling Canucks when he replied two minutes later, netting his 19th of the campaign by slipping home a backhand from in tight, but the comeback hopes did not last long.

Hunt notched his third goal of the season with a rocket of a point shot that found the net with 33 seconds remaining in the second period to round out the scoring.

–Field Level Media

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