Coming off an impressive win over the Carolina Hurricanes two nights ago, the Colorado Avalanche were looking for lightning to strike twice at the Pepsi Center as they took on the visiting New Jersey Devils tonight. The Avs had the upper hand throughout the first period with the aid of two power plays. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider stopped all chances, however, and despite a 10-3 lead in shots on goal, the game went into the second period in a scoreless tie.
The second period began with the Devils showing significantly more life and actually generating shots of their own. A Rene Bourque Roughing penalty opened up the door for even more pressure. The Avalanche penalty killing was on top of it, however, as goaltender Calvin Pickard stood tall and turned away New Jersey opportunities.
The Avalanche finally broke the scoreless tie at 11:11 (make a wish!) of the second period when Tyson Barrie drove the puck deep into the zone and dropped it back to Nathan MacKinnon, who fired a shot a few steps inside the blue line. It wasn't anything special but the puck had eyes and a screen in front kept Schneider from tracking the puck and just like that it was 1-0, Avalanche.
Colorado took their one-goal lead into the third period but it didn't last long as Ben Lovejoy took a lazy clear from Barrie and put it on net, which produced a huge rebound and Taylor Hall made no mistake in beating Pickard to tie the game up just 42 seconds into the game's final frame.
The tie game wasn't meant to be, however, as a great Avalanche cycle started by Nathan MacKinnon ended in Sven Andrighetto making a great read to steal the puck and find Rene Bourque in the slot, who potted a great shot high on Schneider's blocker side to give the Avalanche the 2-1 lead with just under 16 minutes remaining.
Just two minutes after retaking the lead, Colorado found themselves in another tied game when Stefan Noesen took a great feed from Beau Bennett and banged it home backdoor as Avalanche defenseman Fedor Tyutin failed to play any semblance of defense to prevent Noesen from getting the shot off and heading into the final half of the third period it was a 2-2 game.
With time winding down between two of the NHL's worst clubs, the last thing anybody was prepared for was a meaningless overtime. Insert Francois Beauchemin, so many times the villain for the Avalanche throughout this season but today the hero as he took a rebound from his own shot and put the second try past Schneider with just 1:14 remaining, giving the Avalanche the 3-2 lead and, ultimately, the victory.
1. Francois Beauchemin
2. Rene Bourque
3. Taylor Hall
PLAY OF THE GAME
Beauchemin's goal kept everyone from overtime and was the kind of play he made last season that made him such a valuable part of the defense and has failed to do this year. Ultimately, a feel-good moment for a veteran nearing the end of his career who has struggled mightily all year.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado continues its homestand by welcoming in the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.