DENVER (AP)Andre Burakovsky notched his first career hat trick and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Sunday night.
Burakovsky got his three goals in a span of 12:05 from late in the second into the third for the Colorado’s fourth straight win. Mikko Rantanen had three assists and Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots for the Avalanche.
”He was awesome tonight, skating, shooting,” coach Jared Bednar said of Burakovsky. ”He was one guy that was able to get into the interior of the ice and get himself in scoring areas, and he shot the puck.”
Joe Thornton and Brandon Montour scored in the third period for Florida, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 23 saves. The Panthers have gone 1-4-4 in their last nine road games.
Colorado was without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who will miss two weeks with a lower-body injury suffered Friday against Detroit. The Avalanche then lost defenseman Jacob MacDonald after he took a hard check from Ryan Lomberg early in the second period. MacDonald was taken off on a stretcher but the team announced he was still at the arena and was responsive.
”I heard he’s OK, he’s walking around, he’s doing better,” Burakovsky said. ”I’m happy for him.”
Bednar said he thought it was a clean check and Lomberg didn’t get a penalty on the play but it did lead to some big hits from both teams the rest of the period. The offense was held down by good goaltending by both teams and the first goal didn’t come until late in the second. Burakovsky got it when he one-timed a pass from Rantanen with 23 seconds remaining.
He made it 2-0 with a backhander 2:03 of the third, Florida had tied it with goals by Thornton and Montour 2:34 apart and Burakovsky finished the hat trick when he beat Bobrovsky with a laser from the point at 11:43.
Burakovsky had two goals Friday night against the Red Wings.
”Obviously it felt great getting my first one. I’ve been having a couple of two-goal games so it’s nice to finally get one,” Burakovsky said of his hat trick. ”Today was a lucky day for me.”
The Panthers nearly tied it in the final minute. They had a power play and pulled Bobrovsky for a 6-on-4 but Kuemper and defenseman Erik Johnson made big stops to seal the win.
”Big saves, even Erik Johnson made a great save,” Thornton said. ”It’s unfortunate we didn’t get a bounce. We probably deserved one.”
Before the game the Avalanche paid tribute to Demmaryius Thomas, the former Denver Broncos wide receiver who passed away unexpectedly on Thursday. Colorado stacked pucks in the shape of the No. 88, the number Thomas wore for the Broncos in his nine-pus seasons with the team.
Florida forward Patric Hornqvist had a scary moment in the first period when Rantanen’s skate blade caught his right side near the Avalanche net. Hornqvist went to the locker room holding his side but returned to play the rest of the game.
”The skate cut him open and I think they wrapped him up,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. ”They were going to take a look at him after the game if he needed it or not.”
NOTES: Colorado G Pavel Francouz was recalled from the AHL and served as Kuemper’s backup. Francouz has not played since the 2020 playoffs. The Avalanche placed G Jonas Johansson on waivers. … Panthers C Aleksander Barkov missed his second straight game and 10th in the last 11th. LW Anthony Duclair missed his second straight game. C Maxim Mamin was also scratched.
Panthers: Host Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Avalanche: Host the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports