|Avalanche ride momentum into clash with Oilers|
The Colorado Avalanche have turned the tables after a five-game losing streak threatened to undo a great deal of their good fortune to start the season.
The Avalanche aim to extend their winning streak to four on Thursday when they visit NHL points leader Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers in the second stop on their five-game, 10-day road trip.
Colorado is coming off its first shutout of the season, and an unconventional one to boot.
Rookie Adam Werner made 40 saves in his NHL debut after coming on in relief of an injured Pavel Francouz just 31 seconds into Tuesday's 4-0 victory over Winnipeg.
"Sometimes you get thrown into the heat of the battle when you're not expecting it. He had a great performance, and our guys were all abuzz," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of Werner, who was recalled from Colorado of the American Hockey League last week.
The 22-year-old Swede was summoned to provide additional depth as traditional starter Philipp Grubauer has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury.
"Amazing, I mean we had no idea what he was capable of, we just shot on him a few times in practice and morning skate. He's a gamer," said Nathan MacKinnon, who put forth quite the performance in his own right.
MacKinnon scored two goals and set up two others on Tuesday to record his seventh career four-point performance and boost his point total to eight (three goals, five assists) in his last three games.
The 24-year-old MacKinnon, who leads the team in goals (11), assists (15) and points (26), erupted for five points in three encounters with Edmonton last season.
Cale Makar, who was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week on Monday, became the first Avalanche rookie defenseman to score a goal in three straight games when he tallied in the first period versus the Jets.
The 2019 Hobey Baker Award recipient extended his point streak to four games (four goals, three assists) with the tally and joined John-Michael Liles (2010-11) as the lone Colorado blue-liners to notch 18 points in the first 18 games of the season.
While MacKinnon and Makar have flourished, it pales in comparison to the scorching play of Draisaitl.
Draisaitl scored and set up a goal to extend his point streak to 10 games (nine goals, 11 assists) and captain Connor McDavid boosted his to five (five goals, three assists) on Tuesday, however the individual success didn't carry over to the team as Edmonton dropped a 6-3 setback to San Jose.
"We just got outplayed. We were sloppy, we didn't make the right decisions with the puck," the 24-year-old Draisaitl said. "Those games happen and it's about the response now."
The talented duo traditionally has responded well against Colorado. Draisaitl has collected 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 12 career encounters while McDavid has done him one better with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in one fewer game.
As for the present, the Pacific Division-leading Oilers have lost three of their last five games overall (2-2-1) heading into the opener of a brief two-game homestand.
"The loss showed a little bit of the immaturity of our group to sustain things and the immaturity of trying to become a real good team," Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said. "But we're not there yet, you know, real good teams go out there when all else fails and are able to recognize the situation and then compete hard."
--Field Level Media