WASHINGTON (AP) Artturi Lehkonen had two goals and two assists, and his line led the way as the Colorado Avalanche ended their four-game losing streak by beating the Washington Capitals 6-3 on Tuesday night.

Ross Colton scored on a 2-on-1 rush off a pass from Miles Wood in the first period and assisted on Lehkonen's first goal in the second. It was the first big showing for Lehkonen since he returned Jan. 24 from a 35-game absence because of injury.

“It’s not just a game or two when you feel normal,” said Mikko Rantanen, who scored Colorado's first power-play goal since the NHL All-Star break off a no-look, through-the-legs pass from Lehkonen. “It probably takes five to seven, eight games to feel that the timing is there, and I could tell today he probably played his best game since he was back.”

After Lehkonen's empty-netter in the final minute, Wood added another with 32.8 seconds left. After coach Jared Bednar said earlier in the day that Wood, Colton and Lehkonen served as a model for how the Avalanche need to play, that trio combined to be the best on the ice all game.

“Of course it’s always fun to score goals," Lehkonen said. “I think we did a good job today all over the ice. We just got to keep doing that, and good things are going to happen.”

Defenseman Devon Toews also scored as Colorado won for the first time - in the fifth game of a six-game Eastern Conference road trip - coming out of the break. Alexandar Georgiev made 24 saves to pick up his 28th victory of the season.

“A couple good games for me lately, but the game just didn’t go well for us,” Georgiev said. "I knew if I played my game that the guys would find a way (and) we’ll get the ‘W.’ Nice to get that feeling.”

This effort began and ended with Colton, Wood and Lehkonen, who controlled the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches. For a team mired in a losing streak, their confident performance set the tone.

“They know that their best chance at having success is not just how competitive they are, but it’s also being connected as a group and playing with the right amount of detail,” Bednar said. “There’s a predictability to it, but it allows them to play fast, be highly effective - that sort of wolfpack mentality where they’re outworking some of their opponents and they’re connected and can talk and they’re in great support of one another.”

Lehkonen, one of nine players in uniform remaining from Colorado's 2022 Stanley Cup championship team, more than made up for the puck ricocheting off his left skate and in on Connor McMichael's goal for Washington that ended a 15-game drought.

Alex Ovechkin extended his goal streak to six by scoring on the power play with 11 minutes left in the third and clanked a shot off the post less than 90 seconds later. With his longest such streak since December 2018, Ovechkin has 14 goals this season and 836 in his career - 59 from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record.

Fourth-liner Beck Malenstyn also scored and Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves for the Capitals, who have lost eight of nine.

“We’re tired of losing hockey games,” Lindgren said. "We need to start stringing together wins. We really got zero choice, so it’s win now or we make our own bed.”


Avalanche: Return to Florida to wrap up their six-game trip at Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Capitals: Travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens on Saturday night.


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