Once again, Avalanche win at home leaning on power play and Nathan MacKinnon

Nov 29, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) controls the puck in the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche played the second game of their current five-game homestand in a divisional matchup against the Winnipeg Jets and won by the final score of 3-2 in overtime.

Nathan MacKinnon’s big month of November ended appropriately as he tallied two points in Wednesday night’s victory, including the game-winning overtime goal. The two points he added against the Jets give him a grand total of 20 points for the month, and his eight goals and 20 assist total for the year, not only have him leading the Avalanche in points, but also put him in the top ten of the league in the assist category.

Avs rookie Alex Kerfoot helped lead the way as well, mirroring MacKinnon’s production with a goal and an assist of his own. Kerfoot continues to climb up the top-ten rookie-scoring ladder with his 16th and 17th point of the season.

The Avalanche are one of the best teams in the NHL in goals-against in the first period, coming into the game having allowed only 15, good for third-fewest in the league. However, Winnipeg was able to start the night’s scoring just under halfway through the first period, when the Avalanche were unable to get the puck out of their defensive zone on a dominant shift from Winnipeg. The Jets’ sustained pressure generated a Josh Morrisey shot from the point through traffic that Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov had a hard time seeing.

The Avalanche evened the score just over four-and-a-half minutes later when Colorado’s power-play unit tallied its 17th goal of the season and 12th at home. After a Nathan MacKinnon shot bounced off of Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck’s mask, the puck found Alex Kerfoot who buried his eighth goal of the season, good for second-most on the team (tied with MacKinnon). The first period would end with a 1-1 tie and a fairly balanced game as both sides had generated a few threatening scoring chances.

Wednesday’s game was Semyon Varlamov’s first since November 18 in Nashville, and Connor Hellebuyck has been one of the league’s best goaltenders coming into the night with a 13-2-2 record, so naturally, there was a stretch where the goaltenders would be the spotlight. That stretch came during the entirety of the second period as both goalies were on top of their game, and both put up a clean sheet for the period. The score remained 1-1 and the shot count was 20-19 in favor of Winnipeg.

The third period had a similar pattern as the first with the Jets getting on the board first and Colorado fighting back to tie. A rebound play, from Bryan Little 4:08 into the period squeaked past Varlamov as he attempted to smother the puck with his glove, making the score 2-1. A frustrated Varalamov layed face-down on the ice following the goal wishing he could re-do the play, knowing that the play would have been blown dead had he played it correctly.

Nikita Zadorov was the one to answer next for the Avs when he entered the zone and unleashed a powerful wrist shot from the slot. The shot beat Hellebuyck blocker side and would count as Zadorov’s third of the season. The third period ended in a 2-2 tie and the Avalanche were in for their fifth overtime game of the year.

The Avalanche began the overtime period on the power play and thought they had won the game 29 seconds into when a puck bounced off of a Jets defenseman and past Hellebuyck, but the goal would be overturned. The Jets challenged the call on the ice and won when the review showed Tyson Barrie to be offsides upon zone entry.

Just 30 seconds later, Nathan MacKinnon buried his second overtime-winning goal of the season off of a Kerfoot assist that found MacKinnon near the top of the far-circle. MacKinnon then shook off the defender and shot to Hellebuyck’s glove side and, yet again, the power play carried the Avalanche to victory.

With the result, the Avalanche improved to 2-1 on the year in overtime games. Colorado’s home record improves to 8-2-1 as they continue the homestand Friday evening against the New Jersey Devils.

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