Coming off the holiday break, the Colorado Avalanche were facing the all-too-familiar steep climb up the Central Division standings should they achieve their stated goal of being a playoff team this season. Hosting the Arizona Coyotes following a six day layoff, there was plenty of concern with a slow start and the Avalanche playing rusty early on.
The reality would clash with expectations, however, as the Avalanche came out flying in the first period, heavily outshooting Arizona in an uneven period that saw six penalties called in total. One of those penalties, a double-minor for high-sticking against Coyotes defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson would result in the games only goal of the opening frame as Jarome Iginla's nifty backhand shot would glance off an Arizona defender's skate and past goaltender Anders Lindback to give him his 599th career goal and put the Avs ahead 1-0.
Colorado would take the 1-0 lead into the second period and a relatively uninspiring second period was rocked to life when Avalanche forward Andreas Martinsen shook the earth with a crushing hit against Klas Dahlbeck before answering the bell and fighting former Av Steve Downie to the delight of a packed Pepsi Center crowd. No goals would come of the seven second period penalties between the two teams and Colorado entered the third period leading 1-0.
Arizona would take just 2:34 to tie the game as Michael Stone blew one past Semyon Varlamov to bring the game to 1-1. Despite Colorado dominating the rest of the third period, the game would still find its way to overtime, giving each team a point.
As is usual with the new three-on-three format for overtime, each team saw significant scoring chances but none were more glorious than the game-winner when Mikkel Boedker used his significant speed to breakaway from the pack and beat Varlamov at 4:17 of overtime to give the Coyotes the 2-1 win.
1. Mikkel Boedker - game-winning goal, 1 assist
2. Anders Lindback - 38 saves
3. Jarome Iginla - 1 goal, number 599 of his career
PLAY OF THE GAME
The overtime winner. Despite Varlamov's patience, Boedker still found a way to rip one by him.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"I wasn't happy about the way we played 3-on-3. We played it like an All-Star Game." - Head Coach Patrick Roy
Despite the loss, Colorado actually moved one step closer to the playoffs as they are now just four points behind Nashville for the final Wild Card playoff spot. They are just two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for sixth in the Central Division.
The Avalanche take off for San Jose immediately and play the Sharks tomorrow night at 8:30PM MST.