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Avalanche use big 2nd period, rally for 4-1 win over winless Kraken

SEATTLE (AP) — All that was missing from the busy night for Colorado’s Logan O’Connor’s was an assist. He got the fight out the way almost immediately before adding what proved to be the deciding goal.

“I feel like he plays like that all the time. He’s going to play as hard as he can, use his skating to his advantage,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “He’s willing to do all the little things it takes to have success.”

O’Connor and Arttui Lehkonen scored their first goals of the season in the second period, Mikko Rantanen scored his third with 6:15 remaining and the Avalanche beat the Seattle Kraken 4-1 on Tuesday night.

The Avalanche ruined Seattle’s home opener and matched an NHL record for the longest regular-season road winning streak spanning multiple seasons. Colorado won its 14th straight away from home dating to last season, matching the mark set by Buffalo during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

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Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev made 37 saves and turned away nearly every dangerous chance.

“They were probably the better team tonight but (Georgiev) was huge back there, penalty kill was big,” O’Connor said. “He’s the best penalty killer out there.”

The first meeting since Game 7 of last season’s Western Conference first-round matchup won by Seattle got off to a heated start with O’Connor and Jordan Eberle dropping the gloves inside the first 90 seconds. It was just the third fight of Eberle’s career and first since 2019.

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The fight was in response to Eberle’s hit on Andrew Cogliano in Game 6 of the playoff matchup. Cogliano suffered a neck fracture as a result of the hit.

“We obviously go back to the series last year. It was a tough series, tough situation,” Eberle said. “I was just trying to get my teammates going.”

Colorado’s Cale Makar was greeted with hearty boos every time he touched the puck, the result of his hit on Jared McCann in Game 4 of the playoff series that drew a one-game suspension and sidelined McCann for the rest of the series.

“There’s definitely a lot of animosity, I think,” O’Connor said. “We feel as though we didn’t give our best effort in that series last year. They played us hard. You have got to give them credit.”

Lehkonen scored at 3:50 of the second period after the puck deflected his way and Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer was caught out of position. O’Connor’s goal was short-handed at 11:50 when Makar’s clearance hopped over the stick of Vince Dunn at the blue line and sent O’Connor free on a breakaway.

Grubauer made 23 saves and kept it a one-goal margin with some key stops before Rantanen scored his third of the season.

Valeri Nichushkin scored an empty-net goal with 3:14 left. Nichushkin missed the final five postseason games of the first-round loss to Seattle for what the team called “personal reasons.”

Kailer Yamamoto scored at 15:09 of the first period to give Seattle the lead, his first goal as the first player from Washington state to play for the Kraken. But the rest of Seattle’s home opener was filled with missed opportunities and the Kraken remained winless through four games for the first time in their three seasons.

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Seattle outshot and outhit the Avalanche but couldn’t capitalize on the power play going 0 for 4 and is 1 for 11 on the season.

“We lacked execution in a few spots tonight and against a good team that leaves us on the wrong side of the ledger,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said.

NOTES: Makar picked up his 250th career point with the assist on O’Connor’s goal. O’Connor’s goal was the first short-handed score of the season for Colorado and the second allowed by Seattle. … Seattle assistant coach Dave Lowry took a puck off the top of his head during the second period and had to go back into the locker room for treatment. He returned to the bench in the third period. … Seattle has killed 13 straight plays to begin the season.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Host Chicago on Thursday night in their home opener.

Kraken: Host Carolina on Thursday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl