Sports

Red Wings drop 3rd straight, falling to Avalanche 7-2

Red Wings Avalanche Hockey
Posted at 7:26 AM, Mar 07, 2024

Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon said farewell Wednesday to a good friend who was traded away.

Then, they went to work.

Makar had his first career hat trick, MacKinnon extended his home points streak to 31 games with a goal and three assists and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 on Wednesday night.

This performance came hours after the Avalanche made two trades, including one that sent popular defenseman Bowen Byram to Buffalo.

“One of my best friends and will be for life,” Makar said. “Just put emotions aside and ... focus on the task at hand.”

Makar did just that, recording the fourth hat trick by a defenseman in franchise history. He joined Sandis Ozolinsh (Dec. 6, 1999), Uwe Krupp (March 1, 1995) and Bryan Fogarty (Dec. 1, 1990), according to NHL Stats. Makar also had an assist.

“I’ve never really had an experience like that in my career,” Makar said of hats being thrown onto the ice in his honor. “The bigger thing is we got the win."

MacKinnon had his second straight four-point game. He has an NHL-leading 109 points.

“Tonight, we played really well,” MacKinnon said.

Under difficult circumstances. Before the game, Colorado picked up defenseman Sean Walker from Philadelphia and center Casey Mittelstadt from Buffalo. Two big additions who can help with a playoff push.

Still, it was hard for MacKinnon to see Byram go.

“Great friend,” MacKinnon said. “We’ll miss him. We’ll miss his personality.”

Artturi Lehkonen, Jonathan Drouin and Jean-Luc Foudy also scored. It was the first NHL goal for Foudy, who was called up from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL — along with Ondrej Pavel — with Walker and Mittelstadt unable to arrive in time.

Mikko Rantanen finished with four assists for the Avalanche, while Alexandar Georgiev stopped 27 shots for his 32nd win.

Robby Fabbri and David Perron scored for a Detroit team that has dropped three straight. The Red Wings were without scoring leader Dylan Larkin due to a lower-body injury.

Alex Lyon started in goal for Detroit, but was relieved by James Reimer for the third period on a night when the Avalanche had 54 shots.

“Overmatched, overwhelmed a little bit tonight,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “We let their big guns have too easy of a night.”

Added defenseman Ben Chiarot: “A lot work on, a lot to correct. We have to get that desperation back that we had.”

After falling behind 2-1 in the first period, the Avalanche scored six straight goals.

“Everybody’s just been clicking,” said Makar, whose team was 2 for 6 on the power play. “I feel like we’re moving the puck really well.”

At 31 games, MacKinnon is tied for the fourth-longest home points streak in NHL history with Bryan Trottier (1981-82) and Mario Lemieux (1995-96). MacKinnon's goal also was his 40th of the season, making him the fourth player in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to record three or more 40-goal campaigns.

“He’s just playing incredible for us,” Makar said.

Former Red Wings and Avalanche forward Darren Helm dropped the puck in a ceremonial faceoff. He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008 and with Colorado in 2022.

The Avalanche also welcomed back Red Wings forward J.T. Compher with a video tribute in the first period. Compher spent his first seven NHL seasons in Colorado and helped the team to the 2022 Stanley Cup.

“He’s a great friend of mine and it was fun to share all those years with him,” Rantanen said. “A brother for life.”

The feeling was mutual.

“It helps when you win," Compher said. “It bonds you forever.”

UP NEXT

Red Wings: At Arizona on Friday night.

Avalanche: Host Minnesota on Friday night.