Devon Toews announced his presence in his first season with the Colorado Avalanche.
The defender has already set a new career high for goals in one campaign and has now set his personal best for points in a season after scoring twice against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Toews and defensive partner Cale Makar led the assault on the Avalanche in a 3-2 win at Staples Center in downtown LA to keep the team in step with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the West Division. Colorado follows Vegas by four points, but has a game in hand and sets its own destiny to take first place with the Avs and Knights taking on Monday.
“First meeting we had at the beginning of the year, [the discussion] we were hunting first. That’s our goal, that’s what we expect, and we have three more games and a chance to do it, “Toews said.” So it started with these two games in LA here, which allowed us to do that. We have to play game by game, but now we have the big one. We’re ready, we’re prepared, and it should be fun. “
Toews’ two goals on Saturday marked his first multi-goal game of his career and he became the team’s first blueliner to score twice in a performance this season. Makar was the last D-man to light the lamp multiple times during a game, and did so on November 21, 2019 at the Minnesota Wild.
Video: COL @ LAK: Toews beats Petersen with a wrist shot
The Abbotsford, British Columbia resident opened the scoring when he collected a loose puck in the slot after the Kings failed to catch it and buried a shot at 4:46 of the first period. His second marker was a left circle pulse after Makar found him with a cross pass through three Los Angeles defenders at 9:45 am from the center frame.
“A little blessed to get that chance there,” Toews said of his first count of the evening. “I was lucky enough to finish there. The second was just good O-zone game. It starts with our front tonight, just creating time and space for us up there. You know, we can roll three. with room there once we get on the front deck and force turnovers, so it was a great game from Cale to get me the puck on the other side. ”
That second count gave the Avalanche a 3-1 lead at the time, eventually becoming the winning goal, Toews’ second game winner of the season and fifth of his three-year career.
Video: COL @ LAK: Spins wires home with wrist shot in 2nd
He is leading all team backers this season with nine goals and has added 19 assists for 28 points, which is consistent with his career high that he set in 68 games with the New York Islanders last year. Toews’ reached the goal after 50 forays with the Avs.
Saturday was also his eighth multi-point performance in his career, with four this season in Colorado.
“It’s just a different style. I’m very proud to be able to contribute in any way I can,” Toews said of his freshman year in burgundy and blue. “Some nights it’s defensive, some nights it’s offensive, and I’ve been lucky enough to be on the offensive side a bit more this year. With those opportunities to play with Nate (MacKinnon) and [Gabriel Landeskog] and Mikko (Rantanen) up there, but we have so many good attackers up there, all four lines. You know, the way we play generates a lot of speed and insult, and I’m just trying to contribute and get the puck to the guys with speed and in good places, and I think we’re all doing a good job with that. “
Video: Devon Toews after his two-goal game in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles back-to-back series also presented a situation for Toews that he is very proud of. With Nathan MacKinnon Missing both matches, the team needed another alternate captain on the ice and awarded the honor to Toews.
It was the first time in the NHL that he had a captain’s letter on his chest.
“It was not expected. I am very proud of that, and it was a great honor for me to wear it,” said Toews. “We have 15 guys in the room who could wear that on any given night, honestly. It’s such a good group, a lot of guys lead by example on the ice and a lot of guys lead with their voices in the room. think it’s just more of a community we’ve created here – we have a lot of natural born leaders. ”
Toews has certainly shown those skills on and off the ice this year.
MACKINNON AND INJURY UPDATES
Nathan MacKinnon missed his second consecutive game with a minor lower body injury, and his status for Monday’s match-up at the Vegas Golden Knights won’t be announced until match day.
“We’re just going to be smart,” Bednar said of bringing MacKinnon back into the lineup. “If he’s in pain and can’t go or if we feel like there’s a risk of him getting worse, then we’re not playing him.
“That will be a decision after I talk to him and see how he feels, and I will not make that decision until the race time – or at the earliest in the morning and race time at the latest. He’s feeling good and he is. can play, then he will play. If he isn’t, then it isn’t. “
MacKinnon leads the Avalanche and is tied for fifth place in the NHL with 65 points.
There was no play on Saturday either Carl Soderberg, but the attacker was held up for more rest after a slight cramp in his back. Jayson Megna took his place on the fourth line.
“I think he’s a boy we could have played if it were all that matters, but we had a few extra guys,” Bednar noted of Soderberg. “Megna is a man who has played extremely well for us … I made the decision to pull Sodes and give him a day of rest in a back-to-back and bring in a man who we might be here. need it early in the play-offs. “
Defender Patrik Nemeth was back in the line-up for the game after failing to finish Friday’s game following a collision in the boards in the second period. Nemeth was paired with Jacob MacDonald and saw 4:30 pm ice age.
BURAKOVSKY ON A ROLL
Andre Burakovsky had two assists and extended his season-long point streak to five games. He has three goals and five assists during his current run.
“I mean, just a little bit of luck now,” Burakovsky said. “It’s going in the right direction for me, and I’m just trying to make things and when it ends up in a goal, I’m happy with that.”
It was his 13th multipoint game this year and his third in the last four games.
After 50 games, the forward has 40 points (17 goals and 23 assists), the second most points in a season in his NHL tenure. He set 20 goals, 25 assists and 45 points in 58 games of his career last year with Colorado.
MORE POSTGAME NOTES
The Avalanche is 5-1-0 against Los Angeles this season, the club’s most victories against the Kings in a single campaign. Colorado, which had a 30-18 lead in shots during the performance, has thus far outstripped Los Angeles 204-133 (plus-71) by six of eight games in the season series.
All three of the Avs’ goals came from defenders, most of the goals the Avs have made off their blue line in a game this season. Colorado has 139 points (26 goals, 113 assists) from defenders in 2020-21, the most of all teams.
Colorado finished its ninth back-to-back of the year and is a combined 14-1-3 in consecutive night series, including a 6-0-3 mark in the second game. The Avs have swept four consecutive back-to-backs, a franchise record.
Devon Toews has two winning goals this season, which equals his highest goal in a campaign that previously took place in 2018/19 with the New York Islanders.
Cale Makar registered his 11th multi-point performance of the season, surpassing the 10 multi-point outings he produced in his 2019-2020 rookie campaign. Among the NHL defenders, he ranks first in points per game (1.05), sixth in total points (43) and fifth in assists (35).
Mikko Rantanen scored an assist and has nine points (four goals and five assists) in six games since returning to the line-up after a COVID protocol-related absence.
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