Theodore made 19 of his 41 saves in the third period to help the Avalanche hold on for a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. “I knew they were going to shoot from everywhere and that’s what they did,” Theodore said of the Blue Jackets, which entered tied for the league low with 19 goals and fell behind 4-1 in the second period. “It was obviously a lot of work, but we didn’t panic and got the job done.”
Wojtek Wolski, Brett McLean, Joe Sakic, Mark Rycroft and Brad Richardson scored for Colorado, which has won five of its last seven. The Avalanche are 18-1-2 all-time against Columbus.
“We have balance in our lines,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “We feel that everybody can score and tonight we did have everybody on the score sheet.”
Sergei Fedorov, Fredrik Modin and David Vyborny scored for Columbus, which has won once in its last seven games.
“We had probably our best offensive game of the season with scoring chances and putting a lot of shots on net,” Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant said. “But every time we made a mistake it ended up in the back of the net.”
Modin scored a power-play goal from the low slot at 18:50 in the second to cut it to 4-1. Vyborny made it 4-3 at 14:21 of the third, skating down the right wing and snapping home a cross ice pass from Modin.
But Richardson stole the puck from Rick Nash at the Columbus blue line and skated in alone before lifting a shot over Pascal Leclaire just 27 seconds later to give Colorado a two-goal advantage.
“I was just trying to play good defensive hockey, but he tried to make a move and fumbled it a bit,” Richardson said. “Luckily I grabbed it from him. I went in, saw a hole and shot for it.”
The Avalanche weathered several short-handed situations in the final period, including a 5-on-3 and a 6-on-3.
“Jose was great,” Quenneville said. “He had a lot of stuff around the net. He found pucks through traffic. Generally, if you’re successful killing penalties the goalie is going to lead the way and he did.”
Fedorov’s first goal of the season pulled Columbus to 2-1 at 11:18 in the first, but Colorado regained the momentum early in the second period. With Alexander Svitov again in the penalty box, Sakic slammed home a centring pass by Andrew Brunette from behind the net to give the Avalanche a 3-1 lead at 4:00.
Late in the period, Rycroft slid behind defenceman Anders Eriksson to chip home a long rebound from a sharp angle and under Leclaire’s arm at 15:18.
Notes: Columbus is 3-for-46 on the power play in the last seven games. … Nash is without a goal in seven games, the longest drought of his career. … The Avalanche were the least penalized team the first month of the season, but took nine penalties against the Blue Jackets.