Avalanche Score Early And Often, Beat Devils 6-1
DENVER (AP) – The struggling Colorado Avalanche found their offense against the winningest goalie in NHL history.
Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and two assists, Semyon Varlamov made 18 saves and Colorado beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 on Wednesday night.
Milan Hejduk had a goal and an assist, and T.J. Galiardi, Jay McClement, Stefan Elliott and Jan Hejda also scored for the Avalanche, who took advantage of an off night by Martin Brodeur.
“To actually get a goal on Marty Brodeur, with the history he’s had, it’s a good feeling,” O’Reilly said.
Brodeur has 630 career wins, the most by a goalie in NHL history. He has held the record since March 17, 2009, when he won his 552nd game to pass former Avalanche netminder Patrick Roy.
Brodeur will have to wait for win No. 631 after Colorado routed him Wednesday.
He entered 16-7-4 against the Avalanche with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. Those numbers took a hit with his worst game of the season.
“This year he’s kind of struggled at times, but most of the goals we scored we had traffic, so he couldn’t see the puck,” Hejduk said. “It’s hard to blame him.”
Brodeur made 19 saves and Ilya Kovalchuk scored New Jersey’s only goal.
“They just swarmed us real good,” Brodeur said. “It’s hard to get scored on with three goals in the first period. In the second, I kind of calmed down a little bit.”
The Avalanche scored three times on their first five shots. Hejduk got them started when he beat Brodeur with a slap shot 7:37 in for his eighth goal of the season.
Galiardi made it 2-0 when he capitalized on a turnover behind the net. He picked up the loose puck and beat Brodeur with a wrister with 5:46 left in the first for his second of the season.
Hejda used a screen from Paul Stastny to net his third with 3:58 left in the first to give the Avalanche a 3-0 lead.
“The first period we looked like we were still in New Jersey. We didn’t come to play,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “We’re not a good enough team that we can take any time off, never mind 20 minutes.”
The Devils got one back when Kovalchuk jammed a puck between Varlamov and the post midway through the second period.
O’Reilly restored Colorado’s three-goal lead when he chipped a puck over Brodeur 2:47 into the third for his third goal.
“I just threw it at the net and got a lucky bounce,” O’Reilly said. “I had no idea until our guys put their hands up.”
McClement iced the game with a short-handed goal when he one-timed a centering pass from Kyle Quincey midway through the third.
“When we got back in the game 3-1 it looked like we finally solved them and they just turned it on,” Brodeur said. “They were relentless on the puck and our ‘D’ had a hard time getting out of our zone.”
Elliott closed the scoring when he netted his second goal of the season late in the third to make it 6-1.
“This is a tough building to come into,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. “Sometimes it takes teams a little bit to get going in this building and we want to take advantage of that.”
NOTES: Quincey had two assists. … The Avalanche are 6-1 against the Eastern Conference and 5-12-1 against the West. … New Jersey has allowed just one power-play goal in 14 games. … Colorado has killed 14 power-play chances over the last four games. … The Avalanche improved to 3-3 on their eight-game homestand.
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