The Colorado Avalanche came into tonight's home contest against the St. Louis Blues breathing a bit of fire after a dominant victory over the Los Angeles Kings two nights ago. The confident Avs came out completely lethargic in the first period, giving up eight shots on goal in the opening minutes.
Naturally, Matt Duchene would use his game-breaking speed to turn the game on its ear and a 2-on-1 with Nathan MacKinnon ended in a backhand goal from Duchene that just barely slipped past Blues goaltender Jake Allen to give Colorado the 1-0 lead.
The good feelings would be short-lived as St. Louis would continue to dominate the pace of play throughout the first and Vladimir Tarasenko would tie the game at 1 with a power move past Francois Beauchemin. Just over two minutes later the Blues, on the power play, would make it 2-1 when Beauchemin chased Tarasenko behind the Avs net and nobody helped pick up a wide open David Backes in front of the Avs net, giving them the lead going into first intermission.
Looking for some jump in the second, a Nate Guenin turnover would prove costly in Colorado's pursuit of a comeback as Patrick Berglund took the puck and raced down the ice and beat Varlamov to make it 3-1.
A defensive zone breakout led by Andreas Martinsen would lead to Mikhail Grigorenko splitting the St. Louis defense and beating Allen badly to make it 3-2 just under seven minutes into the period, setting up a competitive end to the second period in which Colorado began clawing back.
Claw back the Avalanche would do as they dominated the third period before getting a lady luck on their side. Having hit five posts combined between tonight's game and the Kings game two days ago, the Avs finally found a little goal karma as Nathan MacKinnon was credited with the game-tying goal with 1:29 left to play in regulation on a puck that bounced around before finding its way past Allen.
The game would head into overtime and Colorado would play by far their most disciplined and effective overtime period and Gabriel Landeskog would bury the game-winning goal into an empty net after Allen came out of the net to make an aggressive play on the puck but lost the battle to John Mitchell, who gathered it in and made the easy pass to Landeskog. The goal would give the Avalanche a stunning come-from-behind 4-3 victory.
1. Gabriel Landeskog - game-winning goal
2. Nathan MacKinnon - game-tying goal
3. Vladimir Tarasenko - 1 goal, 1 assist
PLAY OF THE GAME
The overtime winner from Landeskog will be memorable all around the hockey world as Jake Allen shows just how poorly things can go when you venture too far from the net.
While MacKinnon's game-tying goal in the waning moments of the third was obviously huge, the game really turned on its head after the Grigorenko goal. Colorado began playing a more complete game and took it to the Blues thereafter.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"I have one word in my mind: Resilient. We were resilient tonight." -Head Coach Patrick Roy on his team's win after trailing 3-1
The win brings the Avalanche within two points of the Nashville Predators, who happen to be coming to Denver this weekend with their shiny new acquisition, Ryan Johansen, acquired today in a blockbuster trade that sent Seth Jones to Columbus. The Avs also continue to stay just outside of reach of the Winnipeg Jets, who remain three points behind.
Colorado finishes off their season-high five game homestand when the Nashville Predators come calling on Friday, January 8.