The NHL will more than likely follow the NBA’s lead today and that the season has been suspended until further notice, but on Wednesday night it was still business as usual when the Colorado Avalanche hosted the New York Rangers at the Pepsi Center, running out 3-2 winners in overtime.
Colorado were missing elite center Nathan MacKinnon after he left Monday’s game against the LA Kings with a lower body injury. Coach Jared Bednar announced Wednesday morning that MacKinnon would miss 1-2 weeks, but also had good news with Defenseman Cale Makar returning from an upper body injury to face the in form Rangers. And boy did he come up clutch.
The Calgary born native had an assist on all three Avalanche goals in 21:09 of ice time and a +1 rating, putting him at 50 points on the season in just 57 games. So not easing him back in after 13 games off I guess!?!
Mika Zibanejad opened the scoring for the Rangers 6:28 into the first period, picking up the puck in his own defensive zone and sauntering past the Av’s defense before firing low glove side past Pavel Francouz. Zibanejab, who scored five goals in the Rangers 6-5 overtime win last Thursday against the Washington Capitals, now has 8 goals in his last four games.
Tyson Jost tied things up 11:27 into the first on the Avalanche’s first Power-Play of the night. Makar picked up the pick behind his own net and strode out of his own zone before pushing it back for captain Gabriel Landeskog who pushed at the Rangers defense. He picked out Jost on the right wing who beat his defender and went top shelf on Alexandar Georgiev.
Jost snipe it!— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 12, 2020
(????: @AltitudeTV) #GoAvsGo https://t.co/crx1xnVEon
Vladislav Namestnikov put Colorado 2-1 up 3:55 into the second period, once again on the Power-Play. Landeskog won the face-off to Makar who picked out Namestnikov. With no shooting lane for the deadline acquisition he fed it back to the rookie defenseman and proceeded to find space without the puck. Makar, noticing this laid the puck back to Namestnikov who fired past Georgiev into the top corner with JT Compher providing the screen.
Top shelf, where mom keeps the chocolate chip cookies!— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 12, 2020
(????: @AltitudeTV) #GoAvsGo https://t.co/DWwl5W4GrG
It stayed that way until 13 seconds from the end of the third period but not without some fantastic saves from Francouz in net. First there was this poke check on Zibanejab
Sliding in like..#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/oQb6MNFuAx— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 12, 2020
and then this fantastic save from Rookie Kaapo Kakko just to name a few
FRANKIE ????#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/G6syqXF3QY— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 12, 2020
However, with seconds remaining and Rangers having the extra attacker on the ice Pavel Buchnevich tipped in Artemi Panarin’s shot to send it into overtime.
JT Compher won it for the Avalanche 2:50 into overtime when he deflected Makar’s shot past Georgiev to keep the gap at the top of the Central Division at 2 points thanks to St Louis 4-2 win over Anaheim.
OT WINNER!— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 12, 2020
(????: @AltitudeTV) #GoAvsGo https://t.co/VVdVeRv1Zz
If this is the last of the NHL season for a while it’s certainly been fun watching and writing about this Avalanche side. But on the bright side, it might give us a chance to get some of those injured players back.