Nathan MacKinnon scored 25 seconds into additional time to lift the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
Synchronizing with Tyson Barrie on a 2-on-1 break, MacKinnon beat Corey Crawford with a high shot that ticked off the post and finally ended Avalanche’s five-game losing streak.
Mikko Rantanen scored on a redirection at 5:42 of the third period for the Avalanche’s first goal in 167 minutes and 43 seconds into the game. Colorado was closed out in its past two games, including a 6-0 loss to the Maple Leafs on Thursday.
Chicago skipper Jonathan Toews halted a 13-game dry spell with his fifth of the season. Toews’ strategic maneuver goal halfway during the second period was his first since Nov. 5, a timeline which includes missing nine games due to a back injury.
Avalanche’s No. 1 goalie, Semyon Varlamov, was out of town to check his groin injury. Although, Calvin Pickard did just to his part by making 38 saves.
It was the third time in last 15 games that Colorado won. Until Rantanen connected, Colorado hadn’t scored since Jarome Iginla’s power-play goal with 2:01 left in the third period of a 4-1 defeat at Winnipeg last Sunday.
Artemi Panarin advanced his points streak to seven games with a nifty setup on Toews’ goal. He has five goals and eight assists in the crusade.
Team Chicago played without forwards Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov because of upper-body injuries. Hossa leads the team with 16 goals, and Anisimov has 14. They may return on Tuesday against Winnipeg.
The Avalanche got off to a quick start after they were thrashed in Denver on Thursday night, running up 8-1 shots lead early in the scoreless first against the Blackhawks. Blackhawk’s Crawford made several great saves, including a sprawling stop on MacKinnon’s backhander around six minutes in.
Toews’ power-play goal at 11:52 placed Chicago in front. After Pickard had ceased Duncan Keith from the slot, Panarin shot the rebound across the front of the net from the left side.
Toews, sliding at the right side of the cage, smacked in the puck from midair.
Rantanen reacted around 5:42 of the third, diverting Tyson Barrie’s shot from the right point.
Crawford stepped up again midway through the third, giving the Blackhawks a chance for no less than a point. He stopped Gabriel Landeskog and Barrie in close, and afterward denied Blake Comeau on a breakaway.
Here is a video of the last encounter between the two: