Alex Newhook slid through four Ottawa Senators and scored top-shelf on goaltender Anton Forsberg, kicking off a three-goal Avalanche comeback to send Saturday’s game to overtime.
It took two tries – Gabriel Landeskog’s tying goal was determined to be offside – but Colorado outscored a disastrous early second period and had a chance to escape with two standings points.
“We know we can score goals at a high level and a high pace, but we shouldn’t have to score five to get it into overtime,” Landeskog said.
For all their efforts, 44 seconds into overtime, Brady Tkachuk picked off Nathan MacKinnon’s pass, took it the length of the ice and won it for host Ottawa, 6-5. Tkachuk’s second of the night came against the Avalanche’s fourth-string goaltender as the team continued to be hit with injuries.
Nazem Kadri, the NHL’s third star for November, and top defenseman Cale Makar joined sidelined rookie Bowen Byram and starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper on the list of scratches.
“I think all the guys that are stepping in are doing a heck of a job, but we just can’t shake the injury bug, unfortunately,” Landeskog said. “It just keeps coming after us.”
Justus Annunen made 17 saves in relief in his NHL debut. The 21-year old was recalled Wednesday as Kuemper dealt with an upper-body concern.
Jonas Johansson made his fourth straight start Saturday but allowed four goals on 16 shots.
“For me, I’m just looking for a spark for our team, there, more than anything,” coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought I’d give the kid a try. At that point, we had nothing to lose. I needed our team to dig in a little bit and they did.
“Justus is pretty good too. For coming in cold, first NHL game, down a lot, kind of has nothing to lose... Just wanted him to be loose, go have fun. He did a decent job. They beat him on two really good chances and two really good shots.”
Annunen, November’s AHL goaltender of the month with the Colorado Eagles, made 17 saves.
Darren Helm and Landeskog scored for the Avalanche in the first period, which ended with the teams tied at 2. The Senators scored three times in the first 7:46 of the second, the first of which was on a much-reviewed partial breakaway by Tim Stutzle. Jack Johnson took Stutzle with him into Johansson and the net. Since Johnson knocked the net off its moorings, the goal was upheld.
“We just can’t be giving up that many goals, and it’s off of pretty simple plays,” Landeskog said. “Maybe getting a little bit excited, trying to make a home run play here and there instead of just chipping away at it. That's definitely something we addressed and we talked about."
Tyson Jost tipped a MacKinnon shot past Forsberg (26 saves), then Devon Toews tied the game with 1:20 left in regulation.
Ottawa still sits last in the Eastern Conference.
“At this point on the road it’s hard not to come out with a win there,” Newhook said. “Especially after dropping the first one, we were trying to get every point that we can here.”
Bednar said he considers Kadri (lower body), Makar (upper body) and Byram (upper body) day-to-day. Kuemper is back on the ice and forward J.T. Compher is supposed to join the team in Philadelphia, where the Avalanche play Monday. Compher won’t necessarily play on the road trip.