NHL: Balanced attacks have Avalanche, Jets thriving of late


Widespread contributions have been key to the success of both the Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets this season.

The Avalanche look to extend their season-high road win streak to four as they open a four-game road trip, while trying to keep the Jets from an overall third consecutive victory, on Tuesday night.

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Dallas sits atop the Central Division in the final days of November, but Winnipeg and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Avalanche are close behind. Colorado has won eight of 10, while the Jets are 11-3-1 since losing three of their first five to open the season.

The Avs have managed to stay strong while dealing with injuries to the likes of budding star Valeri Nichushkin (ankle), Evan Rodrigues (lower body) and captain Gabriel Landeskog — the latter who has yet to play in 2022-23 due to knee surgery.

Stars Mikko Rantanen (29 points), Nathan MacKinnon (28 points) and Artturi Lehkonen (four goals, seven assists during a nine-game point streak) have certainly paced Colorado, but Dryden Hunt scored his first goal in 15 games since coming over from the New York Rangers during Saturday’s 4-1 home victory over Dallas.

“I think a lot of the top guys here have been carrying the weight a little bit, I guess,” Hunt told NHL.com.

“Anytime the fourth line, or third line, can chip in, I think it’s huge.”

Meanwhile, the Jets had 13 players record at least one point during Sunday’s 7-2 road rout of Chicago. Saku Maenalanen posted his second and third goals, while Josh Morrissey had three assists to increase his team points lead to 23 for Winnipeg, which has totaled 12 goals in winning two straight after scoring four times in losing two of the previous three.

“If you want to be a successful team in this league, the only way to do it through the whole 82-game season is like that, when everybody contributes,” said Winnipeg’s Pierre-Luc Dubois, who recorded two goals Sunday and has six points in the past four games.

“Some nights, some lines might contribute more offensively or defensively. For it to be sustainable, that’s how it’s going to have to look this year.”

The Jets’ lesser-known performers shined brightest during a 4-3 overtime win at Colorado on Oct. 19. Defenseman Neil Pionk scored twice (including the OT winner), Cole Perfetti had a goal and an assist and Sam Gagner also registered a goal.

Connor Hellebuyck (10-5-1, 2.43 goals-against average) made 30 saves against the Avs. Meanwhile, backup David Rittich has made the most of his limited time, going 3-1-0 with a 2.77 GAA.

Colorado’s Alexander Georgiev made 41 saves against Dallas and has stopped 95 of the 98 shots he’s faced during a three-game winning streak. He made 24 saves versus Winnipeg in October.

With two goals and an assist against the Jets this season, Rantanen has four goals with 11 assists during an eight-game point streak versus Winnipeg. However, Rantanen has just six points in 10 games this season on the road.

–Field Level Media

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