DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche needed a fortunate bounce to finally vanquish Vancouver.
David Jones scored the winner 2:52 into overtime after a carom came right to him in the crease, helping the Avs snap a four-game skid against the Canucks with a 4-3 win on Tuesday night.
Colorado played from behind a good portion of the evening, needed a stellar game from goaltender Craig Anderson, who stopped 40 shots, and then a puck to bounce off the toe of Roberto Luongo and straight to the stick of Jones on a power play in overtime.
Not exactly how the Avs would’ve drawn up a win.
But against a team that has had their number—and leads the Western Conference—they’re hardly complaining.
“We have to believe that we can beat them even though they’re a real good team,” said Jones, who scored his second overtime goal this month. “At the end of the day, in the playoffs, that’s one of the teams that we’re going to have to get through, so it was real good to win tonight.”
On Jones’ decisive power-play goal, Tomas Fleischmann took a shot that bounded away from Luongo and trickled into the crease. Jones was simply standing there and swatted in his 16th goal of the season and second of the night.
“It was kind of a weird goal,” Luongo explained. “It’s tough to kill a 4-on-3 there. We almost had it, but fell a bit short.”
The Canucks were moments away from killing off an interference penalty to Henrik Sedin, too, as the team gave up an uncharacteristic three goals to the Avs on the power play.
“Rare for our team to give up that many goals on our (penalty kill),” said Sedin, who had an assist to run his league lead to 47. “They have a good team. … It’s a tough team to play.”
John-Michael Liles and Milan Hejduk also had goals for the Avalanche, who have won three of their last four games.
Alexander Edler, Ryan Kesler and Sergei Shirokov scored for the Canucks as they wrapped up a five-game road swing 2-2-1.
The Canucks dominated the action in the third period, but couldn’t get anything past Anderson, who made one sprawling save after another.
“In my mind, we out-chanced them badly in the second and the third and could’ve easily scored in the third but their goaltender was real good,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
The Avs also killed off an interference penalty in the third period, something that hasn’t been easy to do against the Canucks, who possess the top-ranked power play unit in the league on the road this season and had already scored twice with a man advantage.
“That was a timely penalty kill,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said.
After a tepid start, the game heated up midway through the second as Vancouver and Colorado combined for four goals.
Each time the Canucks grabbed the lead, the Avs answered right back.
Kesler scored his 25th goal of the season when he redirected a shot from Christian Ehrhoff past Anderson midway through the second period.
Moments later, Kevin Porter was hooked from behind by defenceman Kevin Bieksa on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, only to fire it wide of the net.
But Colorado would add the equalizer when Jones tapped in a rebound after Hejduk’s shot sprang off the back boards and past a surprised Luongo.
Shirokov scored his first NHL goal, knocking in a loose puck through the pads of Anderson and giving Vancouver yet another lead at 3-2.
Just 22 seconds later, the Avalanche tied it again as Hejduk’s wrist shot trickled past Luongo on a power play.
Edler didn’t take long getting the Canucks on the board, scoring on a power play 2:43 into the game as he beat Anderson from the left circle. Edler has two goals in the last three games.
Liles then scored later in the period, launching a wrist shot over the shoulder of Luongo. It was Liles’ first goal since Dec. 7.
“They are a very solid team. You’ve got to fight for every inch out there,” said Liles, who also added two assists. “It’s two big points and we’re chasing them right now. It’s going to be a tough task to catch them by the end of the year, but this is a good start and hopefully we’ll keep it rolling.”
NOTES: Canucks D Christopher Tanev made his NHL debut. … Avs F Ryan O’Reilly (shoulder) missed his first game of the season. … Luongo is 10-0-3 in his last 13 contests.