NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – After watching the Colorado Avalanche struggle to generate offense for more than 57 minutes, coach Patrick Roy rolled the dice and pulled goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere with 2:30 left in regulation against the New Jersey Devils.
The gamble paid off big.
PA Parenteau scored with 1:47 left in the third period and Ryan O’Reilly had a power-play goal 28 seconds into overtime to give the Avalanche a stunning 2-1 victory Monday night.
“Why wait?” Roy said after Colorado extended its winning streak to four games and posted its 13th win in 17 games (13-3-1). “Who said we have to pull the goalie with 1 minute in the game. I thought that was the right time and I thought we started generating more offense. I thought they were tired and it was a great window of opportunity there.”
Once Giguere went to the bench, the Avalanche mounted constant pressure and Parenteau knotted the score by deflecting a shot by defenseman Tyson Barrie past goalie Cory Schneider.
That deflated the Devils and their fans. Michael Ryder made a bad play a minute later and defenseman Andy Greene slashed Matt Duchene to prevent a breakaway with 42 seconds left in regulation.
The man advantage carried into overtime and O’Reilly ended it by tipping Duchene’s pass by Schneider for his 21st of the season.
“Tonight we showed great resilience,” O’Reilly said. “We stuck with it the whole game. That was a big play by PA Parenteau tying the game, and it gave us a ton of momentum going to OT.”
It marked the third straight game in which New Jersey has given up a late goal to force overtime. The Devils have lost their last two.
New Jersey easily could have had a bigger lead, with three shots hitting the post and another stopping on the goal line.
“It’s unlucky until it keeps happening over and over and over again,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s unlucky.”
Fourth-line wing Ryan Carter scored in the first period for New Jersey, which can’t afford to keep giving away points if it wants to make the playoffs.
“Tonight for me the story is we have to find a way to get a second and third goal,” DeBoer said. “We got a goal from our fourth line, which is a bonus goal. We had enough chances to get five. You let anybody hang around in this league long enough, bad things happen and that’s the story lately.”
Giguere finished with 27 saves in winning for the first time since starting the season 7-0. He also had the iron working for him.
“I’ll take a little luck now — I need it,” Giguere said. “I did get lucky a few times tonight. We worked hard enough to get the two points at the end.”
Schneider, who had the NHL’s second-best goals-against average (1.91) entering the game, only had to make a few good saves until the final minutes.
His best stops came on a chance in close by rookie sensation Nathan MacKinnon in the first period and another in close by O’Reilly in the third.
The Devils’ goalie also was a little lucky. A third-period power-play shot by Gabriel Landeskog hit off defenseman Bryce Salvador and went just wide of the net.
But the Avs finally found the answers late.
Carter got his fifth goal of the season on a quick counterattack after Duchene lost the puck at the blue line in the Devils zone. Stephen Gionta carried the puck into the Colorado zone and fed Steve Bernier, who found Carter coming late for a shot that beat Giguere.
Given a rare start with Semyon Varlamov getting the night off, Giguere had help from the iron all night. Michael Ryder hit the post with 12:30 left in the first period and Dainius Zubrus deflected a shot by Mark Fayne off the post with 4 seconds left in the period.
Zubrus also clanged one off the post on a short-handed shot late in the second period, and Jaromir Jagr had a shot that stopped on the goal line early in the third.
NOTES: Devils D Anton Volchenkov missed the game with a lower-body injury sustained against Nashville on Friday night. … New Jersey activated D Peter Harrold and he was back in the lineup after missing 25 games with a broken foot. … The Avalanche will play the Rangers, Flyers and Islanders on the road before the Olympic break.
By Tom Canavan, AP Sports Writer
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