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NEWARK, N.J. – There were times they looked dominant. Other times, they looked dormant. Thursday night’s Avalanche performance here at the Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils were certainly their season so far in a microcosm.
One player was dominant throughout, though: the captain.
Gabe Landeskog scored a hat trick in leading the Avalanche to a 5-3 win over the previously unbeaten New Jersey Devils at the Rock, upping the team’s record to 4-1-2 on the young season.
Landeskog scored his final goal with 3:22 left in the game to snap a tie game, a one-timer off a feed from Nathan MacKinnon. The Avs overcame a 3-2 deficit in the third for the win, which was the first of his Avs career for goalie Philipp Grubauer.
The Devils took a short-lived 3-2 lead in the third period, when veteran Brian Boyle deflected in a shot off his skate. It came on the power play, after Colin Wilson took a tripping minor at the end of an Avs PP.
Gabe Landeskog scored his second goal of the game and third in two contests to even it back up at 8:08, tipping an Ian Cole shot from the point. It was a beauty of a tip, where he reached way across his body to redirect a harmless looking shot. Landeskog was actually on his knees when he tipped the puck too.
“It’s a desperation play, really,” Landeskog said of the tipped goal. “You just see the puck and hope your stick is long enough to get something on it.”
Playing his first game of the season, Sven Andrighetto scored the Avs’ first goal of the game at 1:17 of the second, after fellow Swiss native Nico Hischier scored an easy tap-in power-play goal in the first. Andrighetto muffed his first shot attempt alone in the right crease, following Alexander Kerfoot’s setup pass.
He got a second chance, however, and his shot was judged to be just over the goal line upon video review – after it was gloved by Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid.
Landeskog gave the Avs a brief 2-1 lead at 7:08, bursting over the blue line with speed to beat Kincaid top shelf far post.
“I thought we stuck with our game plan tonight. I think it was a game we can look back on and learn from, to stay patient, just keep working,” Landeskog said. “We expected a pretty tight-checking game, and it was. There were a lot of calls tonight. We can’t be on the PK six or seven times a night. It’s going to catch up to us if we do, but (Grubauer) was great and gave us a chance to come back. It was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, as far as the game goes.”
The lead was squandered near the end of the second, though, on a bad sequence that started with a backpass by Kerfoot in the offensive zone that was stolen. Down the Devils came and, on a delayed penalty, reigning Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall beat Grubauer off a one-timer at 15:42.
Grubauer finished with 27 saves.
“I thought the guys made it easy for me,” Grubauer said. “I thought it was our best overall game, defensively. We didn’t give them much. We need to fix a couple things, because when we did give them something they were pretty good scoring chances. But that will happen. It just feels good to get the win.”
Here’s coach Bednar after the game:
— Adrian Dater (@adater) October 19, 2018