Avalanche edge Coyotes 4-3 in shootout
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Valeri Nichushkin scored a power-play goal in the third period and was the only scorer in the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 Sunday.
Nichushkin was the 14th player in the shootout and was the only one to score, poking the puck past Connor Ingram as Colorado moved into a tie for second place with Dallas in the Central Division, one point behind Minnesota, which leads with 93 points.
Alexandar Georgiev stopped 27 shots and Mikko Rantanen scored his 48th goal of the season for Colorado. Bowen Byram also scored for the Avalanche.
Clayton Keller scored his 36th goal for Arizona, which extended its points streak at home to eight games. Matias Maccelli and Christian Fischer also scored for Arizona.
“I thought our first 40 minutes was outstanding,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We looked like we were standing around in the (defensive) zone. Obviously they came out with another level of intensity and I don’t think we responded real well.
“We found a way to win in the shootout and we’ll take the two points.”
The Avalanche opened the scoring nearly midway through the game. Ingram’s attempt to clear the puck hit Rantanen behind the net and the Colorado forward put it in for his 48th.
Colorado made it 2-0 just 1:16 later when Byram scored off a rebound from Logan O’Connor’s shot. Andrew Cogliano also assisted on Byram’s eighth goal of the season.
Arizona found its offense in the third period. Maccelli got the Coyotes on the board 10:37 into the period, then Fischer tied it a minute later after Colorado got caught in a line change. Michael Kesselring, in his eighth NHL game, assisted on Fischer’s goal for his first career point.
“We tried to do too much with the puck, and (that doesn’t work) against that kind of elite team,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said of the Avalanche’s second period spurt. “I knew we could (come back), and have a little bit better mindset offensively, I believe in the drive of our guys.”
Liam O’Brien went to the penalty box 12 seconds after Fischer’s goal, and Nichushkin made the Coyotes pay with a power-play goal with assists from Rantanen and Devon Toews.
The Avalanche and Coyotes were the only NHL teams who were idle on Saturday. But that was the only day off for both in a four-day stretch as the teams played a home-and-home Friday and Sunday.
NOTES: Avalanche LW Artturi Lehkonen (upper body) and Josh Manson (lower body) were among the scratches for Colorado. ... Coyotes: RW Brett Ritchie (undisclosed) was injured in warmups and was a late scratch. Josh Brown (undisclosed) missed his sixth straight game.
Avalanche: At Anaheim Monday.
Coyotes: Host Edmonton Monday.
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