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Valeri Nichushkin tallies twice as Avs beat Rangers, win 5th straight

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Valeri Nichushkin had two goals, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar also had goals, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the New York Rangers 4-2 in Denver on Tuesday night.

Nazem Kadri had three assists, Nathan MacKinnon had two assists and Darcy Kuemper had 26 saves for Colorado, which has won five straight.

Ryan Strome and Julien Gauthier scored goals and Alexandar Georgiev stopped 27 shots for the Rangers.

Kadri returned to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury, but defenseman Devon Toews was placed in the NHL health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. Coach Jared Bednar said Toews is experiencing symptoms and will be out until after Christmas.

Defenseman Justin Barron was recalled and made his NHL debut against New York.

The Avalanche went ahead 1-0 when MacKinnon skated behind the Rangers’ net and then slid a backhand pass to Rantanen on the other side of the crease. Rantanen tapped the puck in at 12:18 of the first period, his 13th goal of the season.

Kevin Rooney went off for tripping later in the period, and Colorado cashed in on the power play when Makar ripped a shot from the point at 18:11. It was Makar’s 13th of the season as well.

New York got on the board midway through the game when Adam Fox passed the puck to Strome on the left side of the crease, and he deflected it over Kuemper’s right shoulder at 10:36. It was his sixth goal of the season.

The Avalanche answered late in the second when Kadri took a shot from the point and Nichushkin, parked in front of the net, swept the rebound past Georgiev at 18:45. It was his eighth of the season.

Colorado had a fourth goal reversed when the Rangers challenged for goaltender interference.

Georgiev came off for an extra skater with about four minutes remaining, and Gauthier scored at 17:58 to cut it the deficit to 3-2. It was his second of the season.

Nichushkin scored his second of the night and ninth of the season at 19:23.

–Field Level Media

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