Nichushkin scores in OT and Colorado erases a 3-goal deficit for a 4-3 win over Vancouver


VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Valeri Nichushkin scored 30 seconds into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche erased a three-goal deficit for a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who have won five straight. Ross Colton also scored and Alexandar Georgiev made 18 saves.

“Best win of the year for sure. We’re really happy with our game,” said MacKinnon, who leads the NHL in scoring with 115 points. “Tough start but it was just kind of a weird start, a couple breaks. But we didn’t quit.”

Nikita Zadorov and J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, whose four-game winning streak was snapped. Ilya Mikheyev also had a goal and Casey DeSmith stopped 30 of 34 shots for Vancouver filling in for the injured Thatcher Demko.

The Avalanche started overtime up a man after Vancouver’s Carson Soucy put a puck over the glass with 8.7 seconds left in the third. MacKinnon’s blast hit Nichushkin in the visor and bounced in for the win.

“I think we lift our foot off the gas,” Zadorov said. “The teams like that, the players, their caliber — you know, Edmonton, Toronto, Colorado — when you get a 3-0 lead, you’ve got to learn how to play this lead and just don’t feed the animal. Just step on their throat and then shut it down.”

Vancouver led 3-0 early in the second period but Colorado knotted the game 3-3 midway through the third. DeSmith dove to stop Miles Wood on a wraparound, but the puck bounced out to Colton, who shovelled a shot into the goalie’s body as he lay in the net. Video review determined the goal had fully crossed the goal line.

An extended five-on-three opportunity gave Colorado a chance to claw their way back earlier in the third after Vancouver’s Ian Cole joined teammate Elias Pettersson in the penalty box.

MacKinnon was quick to take advantage, collecting a pass from Cale Makar and blasting it past DeSmith to cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 3:19 mark.

The goal extended MacKinnon’s point streak to 14 games — the longest active streak in the league.

The Avalanche got on the scoreboard with three seconds left in the second when Rantanen tipped in a shot. He has points in 11 straight games.

That goal was “kind of a head scratcher” but it sparked Colorado, said Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet.

“MacKinnon and them started to fly, and we just couldn’t get anybody to grab hold of a puck, whether it’s on a forecheck or a breakout, just to kind of slow things down,” he said. “We were a little hot potato and we were kind of soft on the puck, mostly in the third. Hate to say but it’s a learning lesson.”

The Canucks jumped to a two-goal lead on their first two shots. Miller opened the scoring just 24 seconds in to the game, tipping in a shot from the slot for his 33rd goal of the season.

Two minutes and 20 seconds later, the center sent a pass to Mikheyev as he drove the net hard and the Russian winger deflected it in.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At Edmonton on Saturday in the third game of a four-game trip.

Canucks: Host Washington on Saturday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl



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