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Ugly Win: Avalanche Recover From Blowing Lead, Win 4-3 in Shootout




Not every win has to be pretty, and at this stage of the season, it doesn’t matter how the Colorado Avalanche pick up wins.

But this one sure was uglier than most.

The Avalanche pulled out the 4-3 shootout victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night, but it was an adventure getting there. After giving up three goals in the third period, allowing the Coyotes to take the game to overtime, the Avalanche recovered to control most of the extra period. In the shootout, Alexandar Georgiev did most of the work, stopping everything the Coyotes threw his way, before Valeri Nichushkin was able to end it.

The win puts the Avalanche into a tie with the Dallas Stars for second in the Central Division. They have less regulation wins than the Stars, but with one game in hand, they can officially move past the Stars on Monday night with a point.

First Period

Did you watch the second period on Friday night?

Well, the first period was somehow worse. A lot worse. It wasn’t that it was a defensive period of hockey. There was just no energy on either side. The two teams combined for 11 shots, and that was with three powerplays. Not great. The game went into the second period with the same score it started with.

Second Period

The Avalanche started to look like the Avalanche in the second period, generating 18 shots after only tossing six at Ingram in the first.

Mikko Rantanen got the scoring started, after a giveaway by Ingram. The big Finn blocked Ingram’s clearing attempt along the boards, and then deposited the puck into an empty net, giving the Avalanche the 1-0 lead. That’s now 48 goals on the year for Rantanen.

Just 1:16 later, Bowen Byram added to the lead. Logan O’Connor’s initial shot was stopped by Ingram, but he kicked the rebound out to the slot. His own player, McBain, kicked it back towards the net and off the post. Byram, who made the initial pass to O’Connor, skated around the net and tapped it in behind Ingram, making it 2-0.

Up 2-0 and significantly outshooting the Coyotes, the Avalanche were in a good spot heading into the third. Or so they thought.

Third Period

The Coyotes completely flipped the script in the third, sending everything towards Alexandar Georgiev, while the Avalanche generated next to no offense.

Maccelli got the Coyotes on the board halfway through the third, after he evaded Byram at the point. His initial shot was blocked by MacKinnon, but he got the puck off the boards and beat Georgiev short-side.

And then 59 seconds later, the Coyotes caught the Avalanche on a change. Kesselring skated into the zone and sent an area pass beyond the Avalanche defenders to a streaking Christian Fischer. The big winger skated in all alone and beat Georgiev, tying the game.

Just a few seconds after tying the game, the Coyotes managed to take a penalty, giving the Avalanche some life. Mikko Rantanen fired a quick pass to Valeri Nichushkin, who was left all alone down low. The Russian winger tipped the puck past Ingram, giving the Avalanche back their lead.

But the Avalanche didn’t hold onto the lead for long, as less than three minutes later, Clayton Keller tied it up. He made a great play to turn around and fire the puck at the net, and Georgiev was not ready for it at all. He barely reacted, and the puck beat him down low. The game was all tied up, and regulation ended that way.

Overtime and Shootout

Overtime came and went without any goals. The best chance came from Cale Makar late, as he burst past the forward playing defense, but he lost the puck at the last second. The game had to be settled in a shootout.

And the shootout was run by goaltenders. Georgiev rebounded from giving up three goals in the third period by stopping all seven shots the Coyotes sent his way. As he did against Toronto, he looked calm, cool, and collected every time a Coyotes player came towards him.

The seventh shooter for the Avalanche, Nichushkin, finally ended the game on an incredible move, using his long reach to beat Ingram and give the Avalanche the win.

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but leaving with two points is all that matters for the Avalanche. They’ll now head to Anaheim to take on the lowly Ducks on Monday night. The game starts at 8 PM MST.

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