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Colorado Avalanche embarrass Buffalo Sabres in 7-1 beatdown

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The Colorado Avalanche paid tribute to their Super Bowl-bound neighbors (the Denver Broncos) Saturday afternoon; putting up a score commonly reserved for football in a 7-1 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres.

Despite playing with only 11 forwards (Paul Stastny and Alex Tanguay missed the game with injury), the Avalanche scored early and often against a beleaguered Sabres squad. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon set a career high with three points (one goal, two assists) to extend his point streak to four games (seven points).

"He is a special player," head coach Patrick Roy said of MacKinnon. "I see huge improvement in his game and it's fun to see."

The Avalanche also got a three point efforts from forward Jamie McGinn (two goals, one assist) and defenseman Erik Johnson (all assists); and saw Ryan O’Reilly (two assists) and Gabriel Landeskog (two goals) also contribute with multi-point games.

Fresh off signing a contract extension with the Avs, goaltender Semyon Varlamov had another solid effort with 27 saves on 28 shots. The 25-year-old Russian netminder even chipped in offensively with an assist.

Forward Marc-Andre Cliché also got his first NHL goal in the contest, beating Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller with a well-placed wrist shot.

"Even when the puck was coming, I was thinking, 'Oh, you can't miss this one,' " said Cliché. "Finally it went in and a lot of weight came off my shoulders. It felt great. I've been thinking about it for a while.”