Top News

MacKinnon scores overtime winner as Avalanche topple Canucks 5-4

VANCOUVER — The Colorado Avalanche's power play has been missing for weeks. They found it in Vancouver.

Nathan MacKinnon scored Colorado's fifth power-play goal of the night in overtime as the Avalanche rallied to a 5-4 win over the Canucks on Tuesday. The Avalanche trailed 4-1 with 4:18 left in a wild second period before Colorado's power play came to life.

"We got some momentum," said MacKinnon, who also had three assists. "You don't see a lot of 4-1 comebacks, especially nowadays. Teams usually shut it down.

"To come back you need a good power play."

Coming into the game, Colorado's power play wasn't very good. The Avs had gone 1 for 28 with the man advantage in their previous eight games. Colorado's power play was ranked 31st in the league on the road.

"I think everyone was on their game," said Tyson Barrie, who had a goal and four assists to set a franchise record for points by an Avs defenceman in a regular-season game. "We got ourselves down 4-1 and that's not good enough. It showed a lot of character from the guys tonight. There was no quit. We didn't change our game and our power play came up huge."

Barrie tied the game with 3:01 left in the third one a one-timer with Vancouver's Jake Virtanen off for hooking.

In overtime, Daniel Sedin was off sent off for hooking. Barrie passed to MacKinnon, who fired a shot from the faceoff circle past Canuck goaltender Anders Nilsson.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Avalanche (32-23-4), who climb to within three points of the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We were talking about desperation and playing with urgency and we've lacked that a little bit in the last handful of games," said Colorado coach Jared Bednar. "We felt other teams were turning it up and the competitiveness and urgency in everyone's game at this point in the year was going up and ours wasn't.

"Tonight, we were kind of quiet (before the game), looked like a focused room. We were determined to stick with it and get rewarded."

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists for Colorado, while Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and assist. Tyson Jost also had a goal.

Brandon Suter and Nikolay Goldobin had a goal and an assist each for Vancouver. Darren Archibald and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks (23-30-7), who are 2-6-1 in their past nine games

The Canucks scored three goals 2:41 apart to build a 4-1 second-period lead. The Avs battled back to make it 4-3 with a pair of goals 1:26 apart.

The Canucks were left wondering how they ended up managing just one point out of a game they looked to be in control of.

"I've never been part of a game where you score four goals, and don't give up an even-strength goal, and lose," said head coach Travis Green.

The rookie coach stated the obvious when he said the Vancouver penalty kills need improving.

"We have to find a way to block shots and get some clears," he said. "There's lots that goes into penalty kills.

"When you give up five power-play goals, your penalty kill isn't sharp enough."

Vancouver's Henrik Sedin said the Avs gained confidence with each goal.

"They have been struggling lately . . . you could tell after they got the first goal they started seeing things they didn't see before," said the Canuck captain. "That's what happens when you get one, you start making plays.

"Once you start feeling it, you start making plays. It's tough to stop."

Nilsson, starting his third straight game, stopped 29 shots for Vancouver. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves.

Nilsson said the Canucks must learn from the loss.

"We need to learn how to close games, how to play with the lead," he said. "Maybe it's a few penalties we can eliminate, and our penalty kill can play better.

"Myself, I need to find some extra saves on the penalty kill. It's team work and everyone needs to be a little better."

NOTES: The Canucks signed defenceman Erik Gudbranson to a three-year, US$12-million contract. …With goaltender Jacob Markstrom sidelined with a minor injury Richard Bachman, recalled from the AHL Utica Comets, dressed as the backup. … The Avs recalled defencemen Andrei Mironov and David Warsofsky from San Antonio of the AHL to replace Erik Johnson and Anton Lindholm, who suffered upper-body injuries Sunday.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

Recent Stories