The Avalanche made it interesting before earning their third consecutive win since losing to Vegas last Wednesday. Down 4-2 early in the third period, the Colorado finally roared to life, getting a goal from captain Gabe Landeskog and then a game-tying goal by Nazem Kadri with fewer than four minutes remaining in regulation.
As overtime began, the momentum belonged to the Avalanche, and it didn’t take them long to cash in as Andre Burakovsky fired the puck from the slot and watched it trickle through Sharks goaltender Martin Jones and into the net for the game-winner.
“I loved our response in the third period… a little bit of desperation in our game,” head coach Jared Bednar explained. “They knew how big of a game it was for us, because we had seen that Minnesota had come back to win in regulation (over Vegas). So, fighting to stay ahead of them, and also pull within two points of Vegas if we won. The guys were fired up for the third period to get out there, and we believed we could get the job done… Kudos to our guys for being able to get the job done after not playing a full 60 minutes.”
The Avalanche did indeed pull to within two points of the Golden Knights with the win, and with a game in hand, the Avalanche still control their own destiny; something that wasn’t lost on Burakovsky.
“It was a really big one,” he said. “I mean, at the end here, we want to be first place in the league, and I think this was a must-win for us. We talked about it. We needed to come out harder, we needed to leave everything we have on the ice in the third period. Even though we were down, there was no doubt. We were going to find a way to get this done, and we did. Great job from everyone in the room just sticking with it. It was fun to play, and it was fun to watch.”
NEXT UP: Avalanche (34-12-4, 72 pts) vs. Sharks (20-26-6, 46 pts) | Wednesday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m.
• Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist on Monday, giving him seven points (three goals, four assists) in his three games since returning from the COVID-19 list. He had four points (three goals, one assist) in the previous two games prior to being placed on the list. Rantanen’s goal was his 29th goal of the season, good for third in the NHL, and now has 309 career points, good for ninth-place on the Avalanche’s all-time scoring list.
• Devan Dubnyk reportedly tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and will quarantine in San Jose, where he has a residence for at least the next two weeks, and is expected to drive back to Denver when healthy. Jonas Johansson will serve as Philipp Grubauer’s backup in the meantime.
• Alex Newhook, the Avalanche’s first-round pick in the 2019 draft, has been added to the team’s taxi squad and is expected to make his NHL debut sometime this week. “It’s a very good possibility that he will play on this trip. He just joined our team; I wanted to let him settle in for a day here,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “We are going to do some video work with him; we did some already today on the penalty kill. He’s a guy that’s been killing penalties both in college and now again with the Eagles; done a nice job there. He saw some video this morning, worked on that out in morning skate. I am going to show him some 5-on-5 stuff, make sure we brush him up on how we want to play ,and then we will consider him for some games here later on on the trip.” Newhook, 20, received the Tim Taylor Award as the NCAA Division-I Rookie of the Year in 2019-20 after scoring 19 goals 23 assists (42 points) in only 34 games with Boston College.
THE FINAL WORD
“At the end of the day, it definitely wasn’t our best game, but certainly a character win. Just being able to overcome a two-goal deficit in the third period, get one late, cash in in OT. Definitely a pesky win for us.” — Nazem Kadri.
LAST NIGHT’S LINES
Top Line: LW Gabriel Landeskog, C Nathan MacKinnon, RW Mikko Rantanen
Second Line: LW Andre Burakovsky, C Tyson Jost, RW Valeri Nichushkin
Third Line: LW Carl Soderberg, C Nazem Kadri, RW Joonas Donskoi
Fourth Line: LW Kiefer Sherwood, C Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, RW J.T. Compher
Top Pair: LD Devon Toews, RD Cale Makar
Second Pair: LD Patrik Nemeth, RD Conor Timmins
Third Pair: LD Ryan Graves, RD Dan Renouf
Starter: Philipp Grubauer
• Devan Dubnyk (COVID-19 protocol) tested positive for the virus and is out from May 3 until at least May 17.
• Samuel Girard (lower-body injury) missed the May 1 game and is expected to miss two weeks.
• Brandon Saad (lower-body injury) was injured on Apr. 24 and is expected to miss two-to-four weeks.
• Bowen Byram (upper-body injury) will be out until at least early May after suffering a setback.
• Logan O’Connor (lower-body injury) was placed on injured reserve on Apr. 2. He has surgery, and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
• Matt Calvert (upper-body injury) missed the Mar. 31 game and was placed on the injured reserve list on Apr. 11.
• Dennis Gilbert (facial injury, COVID-19 protocol) was placed on injured reserve on Feb. 20. He is expected to be out until at least late March.
• Erik Johnson (upper-body injury) left the Jan. 30 game and has no projected return date. On March 25, coach Jared Bednar suggested that it was possible that Johnson could miss the remainder of the season.
• Pavel Francouz (hip) has yet to play this season and remains on injured reserve. On Apr. 12, the Avalanche ruled him out for the rest of the season following hip surgery.
Shawn Drotar is the host of “The Fan Late Night with Shawn Drotar;” weeknights from 10:00 p.m. to midnight — only on 104.3 The Fan. Follow him on Twitter at @sdrotar.
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