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Avalanche beat Hurricanes 7-4, wrap up top seed in West

Colorado has amassed an NHL-best 116 points this season and is two away from tying the 2000-01 Stanley Cup squad for most points during a season in club history.

DENVER — J.T. Compher and Nathan MacKinnon each scored twice, Ben Meyers added a goal in his NHL debut and the Colorado Avalanche clinched the top seed in the Western Conference with a 7-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Alex Newhook and Mikko Rantanen also scored, while Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots to help Colorado run its winning streak to nine straight.

The Avalanche have amassed an NHL-best 116 points this season. They're two away from tying the 2000-01 Stanley Cup squad for most points during a season in club history.

Jordan Staal scored twice, and Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho each added goals. Carolina trailed 4-0 early in the second period before cutting it to 5-3 heading into the third period.

The Hurricanes remain in a tight race with the New York Rangers for the Metropolitan Division title. The Rangers beat Detroit earlier in the day. Both the Rangers and Hurricanes now have 104 points with six games remaining, including a matchup against each other at New York on April 26.

It’s been a whirlwind several days for Meyers, who captained the University of Minnesota to the Frozen Four, before signing a two-year deal with Colorado on Wednesday.

“It’s fun out there,” Meyers said in an interview during the first-period intermission.

The “fun” only increased 2:21 into the second period when Meyers knocked in a goal. He became the eighth Avalanche player to score in their NHL debut since the team relocated to Denver.

Frederik Andersen stopped 26 shots before giving way to Antti Raanta late in the third. Staal left in the third period.

Compher got Colorado on the board first on a power play 6:58 into the game. MacKinnon later added his 30th goal of the season. He now has nine goals over his last six games.

>>Video above: Avs 'Get Uncomfortable' with help from Black Girl Hockey Club

Credit: AP
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan McKinnon (29) is congratulated by teammates right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) and defenseman Devon Toews (7) after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The crowd let out a collective gasp in the first period when MacKinnon collided with Rantanen in the offensive zone. That was followed by a sigh of relief when both got up.

TWO HELPERS

Andre Burakovsky, Valeri Nichushkin, Rantanen and Devon Toews each had two assists.

THIS & THAT

The Hurricanes made their first trip to Denver since Dec. 19, 2019. ... Staal has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 21 career games against Colorado. ... Carolina scored on the power play for the first time since March 31. ... The Avalanche improved to a league-best 42-2-4 when scoring first.

INJURY UPDATES

Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri (upper body) joined the team at Saturday’s morning skate wearing a red, non-contact jersey. ... Captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee surgery on March 14) is scheduled to soon be back on the ice. “How involved that is just depends on how he’s feeling,” coach Jared Bednar said.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: At Arizona on Monday.

Avalanche: Finish a four-game homestand Monday against Washington.

RELATED: Avalanche set franchise record for wins in a season

RELATED: MacKinnon's hat trick leads Avalanche to win over Kings

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