Avalanche rookie defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk continued his impressive rookie season by netting his fifth goal of the season at the 2:14 mark in the first period. He would assist on Stastny’s power play goal in the second period.
The Washington Capitals’ Mike Knuble scored the 250th goal of his career when he put one past Craig Anderson at 9:45 in the first period. Avalanche defender Ryan Wilson answered back with a goal, his first of the season, at 18:39 in the first to put the Avalanche up 2-1.
Former Avalanche and current Capitals center Matt Hendricks made it a one-goal game in the third period with a power play goal.
Craig Anderson stopped 40-of-42 shots against him, while Michal Neuvirth stopped 23-of-26 shots.
The Avalanche (15-10-4, 34 points) are on a two-game win streak and moved into first place in the Northwest division over the Vancouver Canucks (33 points). They return home to the Pepsi Center to host the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, Dec. 13 at 7:00 p.m. MT.
Colorado finally broke out of their winless streak in a big way on Friday night, sending the Atlanta Thrashers to only their second loss in 10 games. With the victory, the Avalanche have now earned four points in the four games on this road trip and have a chance to make this road trip a success with at least a point on Saturday in Washington.
The main storyline in this game is the reunion of multiple players with their former teams. Scott Hannan and Tomas Fleischmann were involved in a trade two weeks ago, and now they get to face off against their former teams, and each other.
Fleischmann scored his first goal in a Colorado Avalanche uniform on Friday against the Thrashers, converting a beautiful pass from Matt Duchene into a shot between the pads of Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Fleischmann appears to be gaining some comfort in the Avalanche system, scoring four points in his last three games. Colorado will need him at his peak, as they face off against the top team in the Southeast Division, the Washington Capitals.
Washington finds themselves in a slide, losing their past four games and uncharacteristically scoring a mere six goals in those four games. Superstar Alex Ovechkin has scored two goals in those games, but hasn't received any assistance from his teammates. The Capitals have been rotating goalies in net, but none of them have been particularly successful. Semyon Varlamov is likely to get the start in net on Saturday, but nothing has been decided yet.
Colorado will be without leading scorer Milan Hejduk, as he suffered an apparent groin injury in the victory over Atlanta. There is no word on the severity of the injury, but the loss of the star forward is another major blow to an Avalanche team that can't seem to shake the injury bug.