Second time’s the charm for MacKinnon in overtime vs. Jets
DENVER — Nathan MacKinnon was denied a game winner 29 seconds into overtime. The center didn’t sweat his goal being overturned, he just repeated the feat 30 seconds later.
MacKinnon scored a power-play goal 59 seconds into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Wednesday night.
MacKinnon also had an assist, Alexander Kerfoot produced a goal and an assist, and Nikita Zadorov scored for the Avalanche.
MacKinnon thought he won it earlier when his shot from the point went off the stick of Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey and through the pads of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets successfully challenged Tyson Barrie was offside when MacKinnon brought the puck into the zone and the goal was disallowed.
Colorado shrugged it off, and MacKinnon delivered the win.
“It’s a must-score situation, 4-on-3 in OT, you have to put that one away,” MacKinnon said. “Unfortunately, the first one got called back and then we didn’t panic, we just went out there, made some nice plays and scored again.”
Hellebuyck was tracking the shot when it went off Morrissey again and changed directions on him.
“Two lucky ones in a row, one gets called back and the other one, it seems like it was destined to happen,” Hellebuyck said. “This one hurts because we got them down with eight minutes left and I feel like I can close them out better than that.”
Colorado got the power play when the Jets were called for too many men on the ice with 7.2 seconds left in regulation. It was their second such penalty and it allowed Colorado to complete its rally.
“That was huge, especially coming from behind,” Kerfoot said. “It’s hard to do in this league and something that we haven’t done a lot of in the past.”
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov had 31 saves in his return to the lineup after missing four games because of illness.
The Avalanche (12-9-2) were playing the first game without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who is serving a four-game suspension for his cross-check on Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk in Saturday’s loss.
Bryan Little and Morrissey scored and Hellebuyck had 23 saves for the Jets.
“It doesn’t feel good right now,” Little said. “It’s a game we probably should have had the two points but found a way to get one, so that’s big.”
Little gave the Jets a 2-1 lead when he outworked defenseman Anton Lindholm in front of the net and knocked the puck by a sprawling Varlamov at 4:08 of the third.
Colorado tied it on Zadorov’s shot from the top of the slot at 11:57, but Winnipeg couldn’t hold the lead.
“We didn’t look like we had a tremendous amount of jump start to finish,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “Worked hard, but couldn’t get a handle on a lot of pucks. We got three guys around the puck on that tying goal, just couldn’t get a handle on it.”
Winnipeg (15-6-4) went ahead 1-0 after controlling the play in Colorado’s end for a long stretch and cashed in on Morrisey’s third goal of the season at 8:43 of the first.
The Avalanche tied it on their first power play when Kerfoot knocked in a rebound just as Hellebuyck shook off his mask and helmet after a strap came loose nearly five minutes later.
Hellebuyck pleaded his case to the official in vain. The rule states if the goaltender’s mask or helmet comes off, play should come to a stop only if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity.
Hellebuyck said a shot just before the goal hit his chin and knocked the straps loose.
“I can’t see the puck, I have a helmet on my forehead and it was about to fall off,” he said. “I don’t know, it’s a little dangerous to me.
“I think the rule is we have to have possession for him to blow it but no one had possession and he’s suggesting that I couldn’t have gotten over there but I could have easily gotten over there.”
NOTES: Winnipeg is 11-1-3 when scoring first and Colorado is 4-6-1 when opponents get the first goal. ... Jets C Mark Scheifele has 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in his past 16 games. He was ninth in the NHL in scoring, and he has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 18 games against Colorado. ... Colorado D Anton Lindholm celebrated his 23rd birthday by returning to the lineup. Lindholm had been out since suffering a broken jaw on Nov. 4 in Philadelphia.