Avalanche top Blue Jackets 5-1 to sweep Finland series
TAMPERE, Finland (AP) — Artturi Lehkonen scored in his home country, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Saturday for a sweep of the NHL’s two-game series in Finland.
Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon each had three assists for the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, who won for the fourth time in six games overall. Devon Toews and Martin Kaut each had a goal and an assist, and Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook also scored.
Lehkonen opened the scoring just 33 seconds into the game, and Colorado grabbed control with three unanswered goals in the second period at Nokia Arena.
Boone Jenner scored in the first for Columbus, and Joonas Korpisalo made 40 stops in his home country.
The Avalanche also beat the Blue Jackets 6-3 on Friday in Tampere. Finland native Mikko Rantanen had three goals and an assist in the victory, and MacKinnon collected four assists.
“You’re dreaming maybe that you’re going to play in a professional league, but this was really special for Mikko and I,” Lehkonen said about the chance to play NHL games in front of the sellout crowd at home.
MacKinnon helped the Avs get off to another solid start in the second game, setting up Lehkonen with a cross-ice pass on a 2-on-1 in the first. It was Lehkonen’s third goal of the season.
Columbus tied it at 1 when Jenner beat Alexandar Georgiev with a power-play deflection at 12:27. It was the second goal of the season for the Blue Jackets captain.
Colorado went ahead to stay when Kaut scored on a backhand from a tight angle 1:22 into the second. It was Kaut’s first goal since Feb. 29, 2020, at Nashville.
The Avalanche opened a 4-1 lead on goals by O’Connor and Toews.
O’Connor deflected a shot by Makar from the top of the left circle at 4:13. Then Toews scored his first of the season at 4:50.
Newhook completed the rout in the third.
Colorado outshot the Blue Jackets 45-32, and Georgiev made 31 saves.
It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Blue Jackets.
“We just completely lost ourselves in the second period, completely,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “Seven odd-man rushes. We’re trying to cheat the game right now to get offense against their best players. It’s a recipe for disaster.”
The games in Tampere completed the NHL 2022 Global Series with its second visit to Europe this year. Nashville swept two games from San Jose last month in Prague to kick off the regular season.
The four games marked the return of the NHL to Europe for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
Friday’s matchup was the 32nd regular-season game played in Europe, the ninth in Finland and the second in Tampere … It was the 38th NHL regular-season game contested outside North America. … Korpisalo made his season debut. The 28-year-old Korpisalo had not played a game since March 22 due to a hip injury.
Avalanche: Host the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
Blue Jackets: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
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