TAMPERE, Finland — Arturi Lehkonen scored the opening goal in his home country for the Colorado Avalanche, who defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 at the Nokia Arena on Saturday.
The Avalanche scored three goals in a 3:28 span in the second half to break a 1–1 tie and spark a cheer that lasted for much of the second half of the game.
The Avalanche swept the two games here after a 6-3 win on Friday sparked by a hat-trick from the Finland-born forward Mikko Rantanen.
“If you get four points, you can call the whole trip a success in a way,” said Lehkonen. “We’ve got four points in those two games here. It’s been a long journey for us. It’s nice to be back home.”
Nathan MacKinnon and Kal Makar Each had three assists for the Avalanche (6-4-2). Alexander Georgievwho played both games of the back-to-back, made 31 saves.
Video: [email protected]: MacKinnon and Toews connect to open 4-1 lead
MacKinnon had an assist in seven of the 11 goals Colorado scored in the two games and tied defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (four games) and Chicago Blackhawks forward for most points in non-North American games for any NHL player Patrick Kane (three games).
“Everyone knows how good a player is [Nate] is,” said Rantanen. “He can play, he can score goals, he can defend hard, a good skater. He’s also playing well in the playoffs. So I don’t know what else to expect from a hockey player, so it’s fun to play with him.”
BooneJenner scored for the Blue Jackets (3-9-0), who have lost five games in a row (28-8 outscore).
Joonas Korpisalo, who was born in Pori, Finland, made 40 saves in his season debut. He had not played since March 22 due to a hip injury.
“It was fun to play but 5-1, it was a tough result,” said Korpisalo. “We needed those points.”
For Blue Jackets forward Patrick Laine, who was born in Tampere and is perhaps that city’s most famous player, this series has been a celebration of his legacy here as he was the headliner among the four Finnish players in the two squads.
However, he wasn’t in the mood to celebrate Saturday, having spent the early part of the week enjoying the comforts of home and sharing the city he loves with his teammates.
“It [stinks]said Laine, who had a goal and an assist on Friday. “I kind of wish this trip had never happened. After that I feel like it was a waste of our time. It [stinks]that’s all I have to say.”
Lehkonen, who was born in Piikkio, just over 100 miles south of Tampere, gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead after 33 seconds.
Jenner leveled it at 1-1 at 12:27 of the first with a power play goal.
Video: [email protected]: Makar’s shot is deflected by O’Connor at number 2
Martin Kaut scored his first opener of the season with a backhand from a bad angle to make it 2-1 after 1:22 of the second period.
Logan O’Connor pushed it to 3-1 with a deflection at 4:13, and Devon Toews scored 27 seconds later to make it 4-1.
Makar had an assist on all three goals in the second half as the Avalanche overtook the Blue Jackets 17-4.
“We just lost each other completely in the second half,” said Columbus coach Brad Larsen. “We’re trying to cheat the game right now to take offense at their best players. It’s a recipe for disaster.”
Alex Newhook hit the third at 1:36 to make it 5:1.
“It’s one of the most complete games we’ve played this season,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar.
REMARKS: Lehkonen’s goal was the second fastest goal in an NHL game outside of North America. Detroit Red Wings’ Tomas Holmstrom scored 31 seconds in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Sweden in 2009. …Columbus striker Jakob Woracek missed the game with an upper body injury. He was replaced by Matthew Olivier, who had no shots on goal in 10:41 of the Ice Age and was a combat major. … Colorado forward Valery Nikhushkin missed his fourth straight game with a wrist injury. avalanche defender Bowen Byram did not play after sustaining a lower body injury on Friday. … Each team flies home on Sunday and plays again on Thursday.
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