The Avs continued their scrappy, persistent play, coming back from four deficits in their 6-5 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators Friday night at Pepsi Center. The team extended its longest winning streak of the season to five with the win.
Colorado continues to play with heart and treat every game as a must-win. Head Coach Joe Sacco praised the team’s persistence.
“The tying goal was just an incredibly huge goal for us,” the coach said about the victory. “It was a great play off the rush. Obviously it gets us right back in the game, and Dutchy scored a big goal in overtime. We’ve won some games by being resilient, there’s no question about it.”
Ryan O’Reilly was able to tie the game at 16:47 of the third period to send the game into overtime. O’Reilly started a 3-on-2 up ice and fed the puck to fellow linemate Daniel Winnik, who returned the puck to him on a give-and-go play and O’Reilly finished it from there.
“He made a great pass and I threw it at the net,” O’Reilly said about the tying goal. “I just came across and I went glove side. It caught him off-guard a little bit. Third periods have been our best period. It’s probably fun hockey for people to watch. We don’t always want to play from behind, but we’re finding ways to do it.”
Avalanche forward TJ Galiardi started off the scoring for Colorado in the first period. He was able to score a tip-in goal off a shot from the point by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. This was Galiardi’s first game back after missing 17 due to a broken wrist.
The Avs continued to struggle with turnovers including a give away by Shattenkirk at the red line after he was tripped up. Even though the mistake led to a Senators goal, Sacco is not worried about Shattenkirk’s performance.
“Shatty’s making plays,” Sacco noted. “When you’re putting up points and you’re producing offensively, you can live with some turnovers.”
Matt Duchene was the hero for the Avalanche, continuing his stellar play. He scored two goals including the game-winner 2:36 into the overtime period. Duchene was excited to score his first overtime game-winning goal.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s my first ever. It’s a pretty great feeling. It’s one of those things where you score and you kind of think, ‘Did I just score?’ You kind of black out. It’s pretty cool. It’s definitely a pretty good feeling and a huge win for us.”
Duchene was able to tame a rolling puck off a feed from Tomas Fleischmann and bury it in the back of the net for the winner.
“Fleisch gave me a good pass there and sent me off to the races,” he said about the game-winner. “The puck was rolling the whole way down, so I just wanted to hit the net and get it off the ice a little bit. I was able to do it, I guess, and found a hole.”
Regardless of the situation, the Avalanche have proven that the team cannot be counted out of any game. The Avs have now find themselves in second place in the Western Conference standings and only trail the conference leading Detroit Red Wings by three points.
“I don’t think anyone should be surprised by that by now,” Duchene said. “Last year we were kind of the comeback team and this year it seems to be the same thing.”
The Avalanche hope to extend the winning streak to six on Sunday when they host the Montreal Canadiens.