Erik Johnson’s goal with 10 seconds left in overtime gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Just when it looked like the game was headed to a shootout, Johnson beat Connor Hellebuyck on a wrist shot. The goal was Johnson’s sixth of the season.
The Avalanche posted their third straight win and improved to 20-16-3. Meanwhile, the Jets (23-11-7) saw their win streak end at three games.
The winning goal came after Jets captain Blake Wheeler’s second goal of the game with 33 seconds left in the third period created a 2-2 tie. Mikko Rantanen scored a goal and assisted on both of Colorado’s other goals. Nathan MacKinnon added a goal and an assist for the Avs, who were outshot 43-26 by the Jets.
Hellebuyck made his fourth consecutive start for the Jets in goal, while the Avalanche countered with Semyon Varlamov. However, Varlamov left the game in the second period due to an undisclosed injury, and backup Jonathan Bernier finished and collected the win while stopping 20 of 22 shots.
MacKinnon opened the scoring on a wrist shot from the slot at 7:44 of the second period after the Avs dug the puck out of the corner. With the marker, he exceeded the 16 goals that he mustered in all of 2016-17 while playing a full 82-game season. The Avs have slightly more than half a season -- 43 games -- left on their schedule.
Just under four minutes later, Rantanen converted a pass from MacKinnon to give the Avs a 2-0 advantage.
The Avs lost Varlamov with 5:45 left in the second period as he departed while Colorado was about to serve a bench minor for too many men on the ice. He was replaced by Bernier, who preserved the hosts two-goal advantage after 40 minutes.
However, Wheeler beat Bernier on a power play only 47 seconds into the third period, cutting the Jets’ deficit in half, before he scored again in the dying moments of regulation time.
Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returned to the Jets’ lineup after missing 10 games with an undisclosed lower-body injury. He was injured in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 9. As a result, D Tucker Poolman was scratched.
--Field Level Media