MacKinnon scores OT winner as Avs top Canucks

VANCOUVER – He was frustrated that a game that looked like a sure win was pushed into overtime, so Nathan MacKinnon took matters into his own hands.

MacKinnon scored his second goal of the game just 27 seconds into overtime as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 Saturday night.

Leading 4-2 with 2:37 left in the third, Colorado looked to have the game on ice. But the Canucks battled back, forcing the three-on-three overtime when Alex Edler and Brock Boeser scored 1:37 apart with goaltender Thatcher Demko on the bench for an extra attacker.

It didn’t take MacKinnon long to settle the matter. He took a pass in his own zone, used his speed to skate the length of the ice through the Canuck 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 an Elias Pettersson 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,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar.

“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 defenceman 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,” said Green. “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 for Colorado. Nazem Kadri and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored for the Avalanche (12-6-2), who are 4-1-0 in their last five games.

Rookie defenceman Cale Makar collected four assists, including one on the winning goal, but wasn’t happy with his game.

“I don’t think I really played too well tonight,” said Makar, who leads all NHL rookies with 22 points from five goals and 17 assists.

“At the end, we have to do a better job containing their six on five. There’s still a lot of things to work on but those are key strengths that we need to just keep executing.”

Avalanche goaltender Antoine Bibeau, who was making his first NHL start since the 2016-17 season when he started two games for Toronto, stopped 28 shots.

“To be honest I wasn’t even focusing on winning the game,” said Bibeau. “I was really focusing on just making the next save.”

Adam Gaudette scored twice on the power play for the Canucks (10-7-4), who are 1-4-2 their last seven games. Josh Leivo had two assists.

Demko made 18 saves.

Boeser said 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.”

Colorado, which lost 6-2 in Edmonton Thursday, has been depleted by injuries. Goaltender 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 Tuesday. Also on the injured list are Tyson Jost (upper body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) and Colin Wilson (lower body).

NOTES: Green said centre Jay Beagle, who missed his third game with a lower-body injury, could dress Tuesday when the Canucks play in Dallas, the first stop of a six-game road trip. … Vancouver centre 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. … Defenceman Nikita Zaborov, returning to the lineup after missing three games with a broken jaw, earned an assist on Colorado’s first goal. … Actor Hilary Swank was in the crowd and drew cheers when shown on the big screen wearing a Canuck toque.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2019.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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