MacKinnon scores in OT, Avalanche beat Canucks 5-4
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Frustrated that a game that looked like a sure win was pushed into overtime, Nathan MacKinnon took matters into his own hands.
Colorado led 4-2 with 2:37 left in the third before Alex Edler and Brock Boeser scored 1:37 apart with Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko on the bench for an extra attacker, sending the game to the 3-on-3 overtime.
It didn’t take MacKinnon long to settle the matter as he took a pass in his own zone, used his speed to skate the length of the ice through the Canucks defenders, then beat Demko on the blocker side.
“It just felt kind of cheesy,” said MacKinnon, who also had an assist in the game. “It didn’t really feel like they earned the tie. I just didn’t feel like it should have been an overtime. I’m sure everyone felt the same as I did. I just wanted to end it as quick as possible. I wanted to end it the first shift and I’m glad I did.”
The Avalanche were angry Edler’s goal came while Colorado’s Matt Calvert was lying on the ice bleeding from his ear after being hit on the side of the head by Elias Pettersson’s wrist shot. Vancouver had possession and the officials let the play continue.
“For me, we’re talking about head injuries and what not, and that’s the second time now in two weeks for us that a guy takes a puck in the face and is bleeding all over the ice and (officials are) letting it go,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “He’s not moving so I just think we should blow it dead. Sometimes it’s a tough call to make because you’re trying to let the play go and seeing if he’s going to get up. But I think eventually you should just blow it dead.”
Vancouver coach Travis Green said the Canucks had a similar incident recently in Winnipeg when defenseman Chris Tanev was left hobbling on the ice after blocking a shot.
“My understanding is, if you have the puck with possession, you don’t blow the whistle,” Green said. “Right or wrong, that’s the way the rule has been for a while. We got fortunate tonight. You don’t like to see someone laying down hurt like that.”
Andre Burakovsky had a goal and an assist, and Nazem Ka dri and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored to help the Avalanche improve to 4-1-0 in their last five games. Rookie defenseman Cale Makar added four assists.
Makar, wo leads all NHL rookies with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) wasn’t too happy with his game.
“I don’t think I really played too well tonight,” he said. “At the end, we have to do a better job containing their 6-on-5. There’s still a lot of things to work on but those are key strengths that we need to just keep executing.”
Colorado goalie Antoine Bibeau, who was making his first NHL start since the 2016-17 season when he started two games for Toronto, stopped 28 shots.
Boeser believes the Canucks showed character by erasing the two-goal deficit.
“I thought overall we played a petty good game,” he said. “That was a huge point for us. We just have to build off it.”
Burakovsky put the Avs ahead 4-2 early in the third period. MacKinnon controlled play behind the Canucks’ goal, then passed to an open Burakovsky who had an empty net to shoot at.
With the Avalanche on the power play, Makar sent a cross-ice pass to MacKinnon, who fired a shot past Demko for his 12th at 7:51 of the second.
The Avs made it 3-1 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the period when Makar hit Kadri with a long pass after he got behind the Canucks’ defense. Kadri scored on a wrist shot to extend his points streak (two goals, four assists) to five games.
The Canucks cut the lead to one on Gaudette’s second goal with just 2 seconds left in the period.
The Avalanche scored at 6:56 of the first when Bellemare deflected defenseman Erik Johnson’s shot from the blue line past Demko.
Gaudette tied it with 1:33 left in the opening period, just 20 seconds into a power play.
NOTES: Colorado, which lost 6-2 in Edmonton Thursday, has been depleted by injuries. G Philipp Grubauer has missed four games with a lower-body injury and backup Pavel Francouz suffered a head injury 31 seconds into a win at Winnipeg on Tuesday. Also on the injured list are Tyson Jost (upper body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) and Colin Wilson (lower body). … Canucks coach Travis Green said C Jay Beagle, who missed his third game with a lower-body injury, could dress Tuesday when the Canucks play in Dallas. … Vancouver C Brandon Sutter missed his second game with a groin strain. … The Canucks wore their retro black uniforms with the skate on the front of the jersey. … Colorado D Nikita Zaborov, returning to the lineup after missing three games with a broken jaw, earned an assist on the first goal. … Actor Hilary Swank was in the crowd and drew cheers when shown on the big screen wearing a Canucks toque.