DENVER (AP) Matt Duchene was simply going for a cross-ice pass. A fortunate bounce turned it into the winning goal.
The Colorado forward didn’t know it until the roar of the crowd clued him in.
Duchene scored 2:33 into overtime, and Semyon Varlamov stopped 33 shots to lift the Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
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”We’re all pretty exhausted,” Duchene said. ”I felt like I was back in high school playing hockey, but those games are fun to win.”
Duchene got free after a nifty move in the corner and saw Ryan O’Reilly on the far side. Duchene tried to thread a pass to him, only to have it hit the stick of Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom and bounce in the air. The puck hit Duchene in the leg, dropped down to his stick. From there he lifted it over backup goalie Al Montoya.
”I didn’t even know it went in,” said Duchene, who has a point in a career-high eight straight games. ”I just heard the crowd cheering, and I figured it went past him. It was a good bounce, nice to get that one.”
Montoya was almost as surprised.
”I don’t even remember it. I really don’t, sorry about that,” he said. ”I know the puck bounced in front of me, was poked in front of me, and it landed right on the guy’s tape.”
Enstrom made quite a save to make sure the game reached overtime. Late in the third period, Enstrom dove after a puck that was rolling toward the net. He swatted it away just before it crossed the line.
Jets coach Paul Maurice didn’t fault Enstrom’s attempted clear.
”Just a little bad luck in front of the net,” Maurice said. ”Bobbled the puck and it’s in the back.”
John Mitchell, Andre Benoit and Duchene provided an offensive spark on a night the Avs lost another forward when P.A. Parenteau hurt his right knee early in the game. They were already without Paul Stastny, who was sidelined because of a sore back.
Avs coach Patrick Roy said Parenteau could miss significant time with an MCL injury.
”I think he’s going to miss the remainder of the regular season, and we’ll see for the playoffs,” Roy said. ”(Tuesday), we’ll know more. I’m just guessing right now.”
Winnipeg had a 2-on-1 opportunity in overtime, but Varlamov deflected Olli Jokinen’s shot into the netting behind the goal.
Colorado scored 4:38 into the second period on a goal originally credited to rookie Nathan MacKinnon, when it looked as though he tapped in a pass from Mitchell. But the goal was later awarded to Mitchell after the puck appeared to hit off the stick of Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian.
The lead didn’t last long as Byfuglien scored twice in a span of 1:48. He tapped his first goal past Varlamov on a power play. Later, Byfuglien bounced a puck off Varlamov’s left skate from near the boards behind the net.
Benoit tied it with 12 seconds remaining in the second on a slap shot from near the blue line.
It was a frenetic first period that featured no scoring but plenty of big hits and a penalty shot by Jim Slater after Marc-Andre Cliche hooked him from behind. Slater couldn’t capitalize, though, lining his shot into Varlamov’s glove.
Varlamov later turned back Evander Kane on another breakaway attempt. The Jets were flummoxed by Varlamov all period, even running into the Colorado goalie twice and drawing penalties.
The Avs were on the power play four times in the first period, but couldn’t sneak anything past Montoya, who gave Ondrej Pavelec the night off.
Colorado lost Parenteau in a collision near the blue line with Mark Stuart less than four minutes into the game. After a quick rest, Parenteau momentarily returned to the ice to test out the knee before heading into the dressing room.
”He was in pain, but you know P.A.,” Roy said. ”He’s a great team guy, and he wanted give it a try.”
NOTES: Jets F John Albert left in the second period because of an upper body injury and didn’t return. … F Bryan Little recorded two assists, giving him 52 points for the season, which is a career high. … Varlamov earned his 32nd win of the season.