With just 1.2 seconds remaining in overtime, the Avalanche saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, falling 4-3 in a hard-fought battle.
Rickard Rackell picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone with 12 seconds remaining in overtime and calmly skated into the Avalanche’s end and fired a wrist shot past goalie Pavel Francouz. What looked like a routine save for Francouz came directly after Avs forward Tyson Jost had a breakaway at the other end but was unable to get a shot off with the game on his stick.
“It was a pretty competitive game,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said, as his team pulled to within two points of first place in the Western Conference. “I thought we could’ve used a little puck luck.”
Colorado (40-18-8) improved to 7-0-2 in its past nine games but saw its streak of six straight one-goal victories come to an end. An Avalanche victory in overtime would’ve set the NHL record with seven consecutive one-goal victories.
“We wanted two points,” Jost said, recording two assists in the loss. “We did do a good job of battling back. I don’t think we gave them a lot of scoring chances. We hit a couple of posts, had two breakaways there in overtime. We just couldn’t get the puck to settle down and then they go down and score with one second left. It’s frustrating, really tough to swallow.”
Colorado had to battle back on multiple occasions. Trailing 3-2 heading into the third period, the Avalanche got a much-needed power-play goal from Nathan MacKinnon to even the score. The All-Star center, who had not scored in his previous seven games, fired a wrist shot past Anaheim goaltender Ryan Miller to push Colorado to 2-for-3 on the power play.
MacKinnon was paired with captain Gabe Landeskog and trade deadline acquisition Vladislav Namestnikov for the second consecutive game. And the trio combined for three goals and six points. Each of the three forwards had a goal. For Namestnikov, it was his second tally in as many games.
“He’s got a good skill set, a very competitive guy,” Bednar said. “He’s been rewarded two games in a row for going to the net, staying at the net and hanging around the net. To produce offense you have to be in those areas and I’m seeing that from him. He’s earning my trust and he’s earning the teams trust.”
The Ducks, who trailed 1-0 before scoring three of the next four goals, got their goals from newcomer Andrew Agozzino, defenseman Brendan Guhle and forward Sam Steele.
“It was a tight-checking game,” Landeskog said. “I don’t think it was anything crazy, but they obviously have a lot of pride to play for and a lot of young guys, a lot of new guys trying to impress a new team. I thought we responded pretty good.”
In addition to a near-perfect performance on the man-advantage, the Avalanche also went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. Anaheim’s third goal came just as a minor penalty to Landeskog had expired. Colorado has now gone 10 straight games without allowing a powerplay goal (24-for-24).
“The power play has been working hard, “Bednar said. “Lots of meetings, lots of input and conversations. We needed them to get rewarded. We scored two a handful of games ago then we ran into some games that were good where we didn’t get rewarded. And tonight we come out with two on three chances. And the penalty kill, since the break, has been outstanding. It’s one of the reasons why our goals against are down.”
The Avalanche had seven shots in the overtime period, the most they’ve had in over four years. … The chippy back-and-forth battle included a fight in the first period between Avs center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Anaheim’s Nicolas Deslauriers. … Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi was hit hard into the boards late in the first period and skated gingerly to the locker room. He returned for the second period and played 15:15. … Colorado was without defenseman Cale Makar for the second consecutive game and Andre Burakovsky for the third straight. Neither of them will join the Avs on their three-game road trip. … MacKinnon passed Alex Tanguay for points in an Avs sweater with 489. The centerman now ranks fourth in Avs history behind Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk and Peter Forsberg.
- Rickard Rakell: Scored the game-winning goal and finished with two points.
- Gabe Landeskog: Recorded three points to extend his point streak to six games (three goals, eight points).
- Ryan Miller: Made 32 saves, including seven in the overtime period. Stopped Sam Girard on the breakaway and MacKinnon from point-blank range.
Colorado begins its three-game road trip against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
We missed some big chances. I need to capitalize on that. But that’s overtime it can go both ways. At least we got one point today. We’re just going to have to refocus for next game.
This point is important for us for the race. We’re going to have to refocus before the next game in Vancouver.