Landeskog, Avalanche try to stay hot vs. Flyers
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Improved road play and contributions from the top line have the Colorado Avalanche off to a hot start.
The Avalanche close a four-game Eastern road trip on Monday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
After starting the swing with a shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday, Colorado (5-1-2) rebounded with a pair of wins behind Gabriel Landeskog.
The Avalanche captain, who scored against the Rangers, registered his third career hat trick in Thursday's 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils and added two goals in Saturday's 3-1 triumph against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"I don't know if I am doing anything different other than working hard and trying to get into scoring areas," Landeskog told the team's official website.
Linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen are riding season-opening eight-game point streaks with MacKinnon amassing eight goals and six assists and Rantanen registering two goals and 12 assists.
"We had a decent first five or six games, but not great," MacKinnon said. "The last two or three have been awesome. We're controlling the play a lot more."
The club record for longest points streak at the start of a season is nine by defenseman John-Michael Liles in 2010-11.
Landeskog, in his eighth season, scored the game-winning goal in Colorado's 5-2 victory over the Flyers on Oct. 6 in Denver. But getting on the scoresheet in Philadelphia has been a struggle for the Avs' high-scoring trio.
Landeskog has two assists, while MacKinnon has a goal and three assists in five career games in Philadelphia. Rantanen has one goal in two games at Wells Fargo Center.
Philipp Grubauer was in net for each of Colorado's last two wins, and made a career-high 42 saves against Carolina. However, the former Washington Capitals backup surrendered 13 goals en route to losses in two starts versus the Flyers in 2017-18.
That means the Avs may have Semyon Varlamov between the pipes on Monday. Varlamov, also a former Capital, has stopped 68 of 74 shots while winning each of his last two starts against Philadelphia.
Varlamov made 35 saves versus the Flyers earlier this month.
Last season, Colorado was 15-19-7 on the road and had five losing streaks of at least three games. While it's still early, the Avs are 3-1-1 away from home.
Philadelphia (4-4-0) is looking for consecutive wins for the first time this season after pulling away late to beat the Devils 5-2 on Saturday.
Jakub Voracek, who had two assists earlier in the contest, scored with 3:10 to play to snap a 2-2 tie. Wayne Simmonds and Scott Laughton tacked on empty-netters.
"I think our team has a good mindset on taking the positives from even the bad games and moving on, and I think that's what we did (Thursday in a 6-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets) and (Saturday), and right now we're just going to try to build on this game and put a streak together," defenseman Ivan Provorov told the team's official website.
Simmonds, the club leader with six goals, scored twice with an assist in his last two home games against the Avalanche.
Brian Elliott, who made 30 saves in the loss to Colorado earlier in the month, is 1-2-0 with a 4.04 goals-against average at home this season. Backup Calvin Pickard (2-1-0, 4.73) was drafted by the Avalanche in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
Philadelphia gave up two power-play goals against New Jersey, and yielded five man-advantage markers in four home games this season.
Colorado has scored at least one power-play goal in all five road games.
Updated October 21, 2018