The best penalty kill in the NHL was solved by one of the worst power-plays in the league, and the result was a 5-4 overtime victory for the Anaheim Ducks over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday in Denver. The win snapped a nine-game losing streak by the Ducks.
Anaheim scored two power-play goals – one by Kevin Shattenkirk near the end of regulation, and another by Ryan Getzlaf in overtime – to earn the victory. Colorado had given up just two power-play goals at home all season before Saturday’s late meltdown.
Entering the game, Colorado’s 89.2 percent success rate on the penalty kill was tops in the NHL. Anaheim was just 6-for-57 (10.5 percent) on the power play coming in, putting the Ducks at 30th in the league – ahead of only the Minnesota Wild (6.9 percent).
Colorado trailed 2-0, but rattled off four straight goals to take a 4-2 lead with 13:33 to play. Mikko Rantanen scored two goals for the Avalanche in that stretch, including the go-ahead goal at the 6:03 mark of the third.
Brandon Saad and Logan O’Connor had the other goals for the Avalanche in the loss. Saad’s goal was his eighth of the season, and he scored in both games against Anaheim this weekend. O’Connor’s was his third of the year, and got the scoring started for the Avalanche.
Denver native Troy Terry – who also starred for the University of Denver – started the comeback for Anaheim. With the Ducks trailing 4-2, Terry’s second goal of the game got Anaheim rolling again. It was Terry’s first career multi-goal game – his first goal was a beauty – and gave him four goals on the season.
The teams have split their four games this season, and three of them have gone to overtime.
Rantanen Heating Up Again
He’s a streaky forward, and Rantanen looks like he’s firing up another hot streak.
After a six-game goal-scoring streak earlier in the campaign, Rantanen went seven contests without a goal. With his two goals on Saturday, he has 13 on the year, and is now Colorado’s leading scorer with 24 points.
Rantanen didn’t register a point on Friday, but still has four goals and two assists in his last three games. Going back to when he ended his goal-scoring drought, Rantanen now has 10 points in his last 6 games.
Toronto Maple Leafs star leads the NHL with 18 goals, but the pair of goals on Saturday tied Rantanen with Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks for the goal-scoring lead in the West Division with 12.
Girard, Nichushkin Step Up in Stars’ Absence
With Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon sidelined with upper-body injuries, the Avalanche needed to get the scoring from some different spots. Enter Samuel Girard and Valeri Nichushkin.
Girard notched a pair of assists on Saturday, and Nichushkin added another helper. Nichushkin was the hero on Friday, scoring two goals – including the game-winner in overtime.
Nichushkin hadn’t registered back-to-back games with a point in more than a year. The last time he accomplished that was on Feb. 6, 2020, when he scored a goal against the Ottawa Senators after racking up three points in the previous game. He had two goals in Friday’s win.
Girard has become one of Colorado’s most reliable players. His two assists gave him 13 for the season, which is second only to MacKinnon’s 17. Girard assisted on both of Rantanen’s goals. The first came on a great reaction by Rantanen to tie the game at 2-2 late in the second.
Girard has two goals and four assists in the last five games. With the two points, the defenseman moved into third on the team in scoring. Only Rantanen (24 points) and MacKinnon (22) are ahead of him.
Colorado’s nine-game homestand continues on Monday when they host the Arizona Coyotes at Ball Arena. The Avalanche also host the Coyotes on Wednesday.
Lifelong storyteller and experienced hockey reporter that has covered everything from major juniors to the NHL. Worked for various newspapers across Minnesota and North Dakota, and now covering the Colorado Avalanche for THW.