Avs score twice in 26 seconds, rally to beat Vegas 3-2
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon scored in the third period to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night.
The Avalanche overcame a 2-1 deficit by scoring two goals 26 seconds apart early in the third period, with J.T. Compher tying the game and MacKinnon burying the go-ahead goal in front of 18,333 in attendance.
Andre Burakovsky also scored for Colorado while Darcy Kuemper made 34 saves.
Chandler Stephenson and Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas. Laurent Brossoit stopped 18 shots.
After firing 14 shots on goal during Friday night’s 6-3 home win over Winnipeg, MacKinnon had zero shots until his game-winner, a one-timer just inside the blue line off a pass from Cale Makar.
“Just trying to take shots when I can,” MacKinnon said. “When they’re not available, I try to make plays. Obviously, they’re a real good defensive team and it’s not always easy to get 14 shots a night, but doing my best.”
Just prior to that, Compher tied it when he deflected Jack Johnson’s rip from the blue line.
Colorado has now scored a league-best 79 third-period goals and has 17 comeback wins this season, including nine in the third period. The Avalanche are now 12-0-4 in one-goal games, still the only NHL team without a regulation loss in such situations.
“I think games on the line kind of drags the urgency out in our team,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “We’ve got the good leadership, we’ve got a good hunger to win and when the game’s on the line I think it’s just dragging the best out in our group.”
Vegas lost for the second straight night after losing 3-1 in Arizona on Friday. The Golden Knights have lost three straight home games and are now 3-5-3 at T-Mobile Arena since the turn of the calendar to 2022.
“Boy, we left it out there,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “That’s exactly how we want to play, going into the third with a lead. We gave them three shots in the third, they scored two. ... We did a lot really good things, except win.”
Colorado leads the league with 82 points, while Vegas has dipped to third place in the Pacific Division.
Stephenson got the Golden Knights on the board early when Jack Eichel sprung him for a breakaway after gathering a loose puck in Colorado’s offensive zone and sending it down the center of the ice. Stephenson raced in alone and beat Kuemper with a snap shot.
Seconds after Vegas killed off a hooking penalty on Keegan Kolesar, the Avalanche used precise puck movement in front of the net, culminating with Burakovsky sending the puck from below the right dot and off Brossoit’s left arm.
Burakovsky now has points in three straight games, including a goal in each of the last two.
“He’s finding his scoring touch again,” MacKinnon said of Burakovsky. “He can get really hot when he gets going. Burky can really put it in the back of the net, he’s a really special player.”
The Golden Knights took back the lead when a forced turnover high in the zone resulted in an odd-man rush, with Reilly Smith feeding Marchessault for a one-timer to make it 2-1 later in the first.
The second period turned into a battle of goaltenders, as both Brossoit and Kuemper were brilliant at times under heavy attacks.
Kuemper’s biggest save of the night came late in the third period when Eichel made a great defensive play by stealing the puck from Makar, and feeding Evgenii Dadonov to create a rush. But Kuemper stymied Stephenson in tight to preserve the Avalanche’s one-goal lead.
NOTES: D Brayden McNabb is the only member of the Golden Knights to play in every game this season. ... DeBoer remains one win shy of 500 in his career, and will get his next opportunity when Vegas hosts his former team, San Jose, on Tuesday. ... Colorado improved to 18-3-1 in “weekend” games (5-1-0 on Friday, 9-2-1 on Saturday and 4-0-0 on Sunday).
Avalanche: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Golden Knights: Host San Jose on Tuesday night.
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