Forget about rattling the young Colorado Avalanche on the road. For 2 straight years the Avalanche have stared down long trips at the start of the season and done way better than the clubs enjoying the comforts of home.
Chris Stewart scored his second power-play goal of the game in the third period, and Daniel Winnik extended Colorado's lead 26 seconds later as the Avalanche ended a five-game jaunt with a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers last night.
A year ago, the Avalanche - under rookie coach Joe Sacco - left Denver after just two games for a seven-game journey. They dropped the first two contests, but won the final five. That sparked an unexpected drive to the playoffs.
Another run might now be under way. The Avalanche won their home opener and then went 3-2 on the first of two five-game road trips this season.
"We've got a young bunch of guys that like to hang out together," said Craig Anderson, who stopped 31 Rangers shots. "This really gives us an opportunity to bond as a team, come together off the ice. When you're better friends and better teammates off the ice, it shows on the ice."
With the game tied 1-1 and Michael Del Zotto serving a tripping penalty, Stewart shoved down defenseman Steve Eminger in the crease, took a pass from the trapezoid from Paul Stastny, and shoved the puck past goalie Henrik Lundqvist at 7:20. Stewart has a team-leading five goals this season.
"We knew going into this trip that it wasn't going to be easy, but our guys really battled tonight," Sacco said. "I was proud of the way they played."
In Rangers news, left winger Vinny Prospal underwent knee surgery and is expected to be sidelined for 6-to-8 weeks.
In other games:
* At Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby and Mark Letestu scored power-play goals in the first period and the Penguins won their third in a row, 5-2 over the slow-starting Ottawa Senators.
* At Toronto, John Tavares scored at 3:26 of overtime to lift the New York Islanders past the Maple Leafs, 2-1. Matt Moulson also scored for the Islanders, who are off to a strong start despite injuries to regulars Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Trent Hunter.
* At Tampa, Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists, Dominic Moore scored two goals, and the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars, 5-4. Tampa Bay also got goals from Steve Downie and Sean Bergenheim. The Lightning were without captain Vincent Lecavalier (right hand).
* At Chicago, Marian Hossa scored a pair of goals 2:31 apart late in the third period to erase an early two-goal deficit, then Patrick Sharp connected at 3:50 of overtime to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.
* The league suspended Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan for three games following a blindside hit to the head of Anaheim's Dan Sexton. Doan will lose more than $73,000 in salary. In related news, Ducks rookie defenseman Cam Fowler probably will play in Anaheim's next game despite breaking his nose in a collision with Doan.