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MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche rally for 4-3 comeback win over Canucks

Vancouver held 3-0 lead late in second period
Vancouver Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev (65) scores on Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) during the first period of an NHL game in Vancouver, Wednesday, March 13, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

Valeri Nichushkin scored 30 seconds into overtime as the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 4-3 comeback victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist for the Avs (42-20-5) in regulation, while Ross Colton also scored.

Nikita Zadorov and J.T. Miller each contributed a goal and a helper for the Canucks (42-17-8), and Ilya Mikheyev rounded out the scoring.

Alexandar Georgiev made 18 saves for Colorado, who were coming off a 6-2 win over the Flames in Calgary on Tuesday.

Casey DeSmith stopped 30-of-34 shots for Vancouver as he took over the starter’s net for the injured Thatcher Demko.

The result extended Colorado’s win streak to five games, but Vancouver remains atop the Western Conference standings.

The Avs started overtime up a man after Vancouver’s Carson Soucy put a puck over the glass with 8.7 seconds left in the third.

MacKinnon’s blast from up high hit Nichushkin in front of the net and bounced in for the win.

Colorado dominated the third period, outshooting the home side 17-3.

The Avs knotted the game 3-3 midway through the frame, but needed some help from officials to confirm the tying goal.

DeSmith dove to stop Miles Wood on a wraparound, but the puck bounced out to Colton, who shovelled a shot into the goalie’s body as he lay in the net. Video review determined the goal had fully crossed the goal line.

An extended five-on-three opportunity gave the visitors a chance to claw their way back earlier in the third after Vancouver’s Ian Cole joined teammate Elias Pettersson in the penalty box.

MacKinnon was quick to take advantage, collecting a slick pass from Cale Makar and blasting it in past DeSmith to cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 3:19 mark.

The goal extended MacKinnon’s point streak to 14 games — the longest active streak in the league. The star centre has 10 goals and 20 assists since he was last held off the scoresheet back on Feb. 10.

Colorado was 1 for 3 with the man advantage Wednesday and Vancouver went 0 for 3.

The Avs got on the scoreboard with three seconds left in the second when Casey Mittelstadt sent a puck flying off the glass and it landed at the feet of his teammate, Devon Toews. The defenceman sent a pass into traffic in front of the net and Rantanen tipped it in to make it 3-1.

Rantanen now has points in 11 straight games, with five goals and 15 assists across the stretch.

Zadorov capped his Gordie Howe hat trick with a fight five minutes into the second when he dropped the gloves with Colorado’s Josh Manson.

The duo danced around each other for several moments before Manson tossed the big Canucks defenceman to the ice.

The tilt came after Manson smashed Miller into the end boards in the final minutes of the first, drawing a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head.

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Zadorov unleashed a blast from the top of the face-off circle and beat Georgiev stick side for his fourth goal of the season, putting Vancouver up 3-0 at the 4:23 mark of the middle frame.

The Canucks jumped out to a two-goal lead on their first two shots Wednesday.

Fans were still filtering into Rogers Arena when Miller opened the scoring just 24 seconds in to the game, tipping a shot in from the slot for his 33rd goal of the season.

Two minutes and 20 seconds later, the centre dished a pass to Mikheyev as he drove the net hard and the Russian winger deflected it in, boosting Vancouver’s lead to 2-0.

The tally marked the first time in 35 games Mikheyev found the back of the net.


Avs defenceman Cale Makar played his 300th regular-season NHL game. Makar, 25, has posted 82 goals and 236 assists since being picked fourth overall by Colorado in the 2017 draft. The Calgary native took home rookie of year honours in 2020 and helped the Avs win the Stanley Cup in 2022 — the same season he was named defenceman of the year and playoff MVP.


The Canucks continue a nine-game homestand Saturday against the Washington Capitals. The Avalanche will be in Edmonton to take on the Oilers the same night.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press