Avalanche honor Jack Johnson, complete another third-period comeback in 4-3 victory over the Islanders

Mar 1, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (7) celebrates his goal with left wing Andre Burakovsky (95) in the second period against the New York Islanders at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Johnson has only been a member of the Avalanche for five months. But you wouldn’t believe it following the ceremony to honored him before Colorado defeated the visiting New York Islanders 5-3 on Tuesday.

Playing in his 1000th NHL game — only 50th with the Avs — Johnson was honored for reaching the games played milestone. His teammates expressed the type of appreciation reserved only for the best of teammates. And that’s exactly how he’s received.

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“He’s just such a great person and great teammate,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “All the guys love him. Some of the guys presented him with gifts this morning in our meeting in private.”

The Avalanche got Johnson a victory on his memorable night in the form of another comeback, this time scoring three times in the final period. It was their third consecutive come from behind victory, 10th in the third period this season and 18th overall. It was also their 40th win of the season, the first team to reach that number.

“It shows a lot of character for our team,” forward Andre Burakovsky said. “We’re always good in the third period and wear them down.”

They came out of the second period trailing 3-2 before the three-goal outburst. The final frame started with 10 Colorado shots in the opening three minutes before Nazem Kadri drew a penalty to give the Avs an opportunity with the man advantage.

Colorado capitalized with just 13 seconds left on the ensuing power play. Captain Gabriel Landeskog banked the puck off the back of goaltender Ilya Sorokin from behind the goal line. Landeskog, Kadri and Mikko Rantanen played the entire 1:47 power play leading up to the goal. It was a much-needed tally for a team that has struggled with the man-advantage in recent weeks.

“That’s one of the things that Landy can do. He’s just so good around the net,” Bednar said.

Colorado continued to press and pulled ahead thanks to Andre Burakovsky’s shot that slipped through the pad of Sorokin. The eventual game-winner came moments after an Islanders goal was waved off after a video review. New York’s Sebastian Aho shot the puck past Kuemper and it trickled over the goal line before Colorado defenseman Ryan Murray fished it out. The replay showed the puck hanging on to the goal line by the slightest of margins, leading to the overturned decision.

“We had it right away on our monitor,” Bednar said of the overturned goal. “We thought, yeah, it’s no goal. Great play by Murray.”

Burakovsky’s tally was his third in three games after a 17-game goal-less drought. All three of Burakovky’s goals have come since Bednar shook up the lines and added him to the top line alongside superstar center MacKinnon and Rantanen. But Burakovsky returned to the second line for his goal, which was assisted by Kadri.

Burakovsky also scored the game-winning goal in Friday’s 6-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Ball Arena.

Prior to the final frame, the Avs led twice before the Islanders took control of the second period and scored twice.

Playing in his second season with the Avs since being acquired from the Islanders, Devon Toews faced his former team for the first time and scored to give the Avs their 2-1 lead. His career-high 10th of the season was followed up by New York’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s tally just 45 seconds later.

The Islanders continued to control the second period and got another goal from Kyle Palmieri to pull ahead. Colorado was outshot 13-9 in the middle frame before mounting its third-period comeback, which was led by a 21-10 shot advantage.

“They almost immediately flipped the table on us when we went up 2-1,” Bednar said. “They played the whole second half of the second in our zone. We got standing around a little bit.”

MacKinnon fired home the first goal of the evening — his fourth in three games — to get the Avalanche on the board first. MacKinnon’s 16th of the season was assisted by defenseman Cale Makar, who recorded a helper in his ninth consecutive game to match a franchise record among defensemen. He later assisted on Toews’ goal.

Makar has 14 assists during this stretch.

Kuemper made 28 saves, including all 10 he faced in the third period to climb to third in the NHL in wins (29).

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Aarif Deen
 is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.

Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

Listen to “40 Wins” on Spreaker.

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