NEW YORK (AP) – The New York Rangers seemed to be on their way to another home win after a sluggish start.
The Colorado Avalanche had other ideas, and now has something to be happy about during a frustrating road trip.
Nathan MacKinnon scored the tying goal in the third period and then connected in the shootout as the Avalanche rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night.
Colorado had a pair of one-goal leads, but trailed by one entering the third period after New York scored three times in the second.
“We knew we had to be strong and resilient against them because they are a very good team,” MacKinnon said. “They went to the finals last year. We had a fortunate bounce when we needed it in the third period and found a way to win in the shootout.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Avalanche 4, Rangers 3
MacKinnon started the tiebreaker with a goal, and Alex Tanguay added one in the third round. Semyon Varlamov stopped Mats Zuccarello and then Lee Stempniak on the final attempt as Colorado won for the first time in three games on its four-game trip.
This win came on the heels of a 6-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. Colorado, which has its last two wins in shootouts, will finish the trip Saturday at New Jersey.
MacKinnon got the Avalanche even at 3 when his shot during a power play deflected off defenseman Dan Girardi’s stick and past Henrik Lundqvist at 7:54 for his fifth goal.
Matt Duchene had a goal and assist, and Tanguay also scored for the Avalanche, who had dropped four of five. Varlamov stopped 30 shots.
“In the third, the guys were really solid,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “All I wanted to see was a strong third, and we did that. The guys showed urgency and worked hard.”
Derek Stepan and Girardi scored their first goals of the season 1:43 apart in the second for the Rangers, who led 3-2 after trailing twice by a goal. Kevin Hayes also scored in the middle frame, and Lundqvist made 26 saves.
It wasn’t quite enough for the Rangers, who are 1-2-1 in their last four games. New York has also lost its past three shootouts, but is 6-3-3 in its last 12 games.
“We battled all night,” Lundqvist said. “They are a desperate team right now. They came in hard in the first and set the tone. We took it to them in the second and third.
“When you come up short like this, you are always disappointed.”
Colorado recorded the first six shots of the second period, but couldn’t build on its 1-0 lead. The Rangers put their first puck on Varlamov 3:50 in, and then put three past him before the period was finished.
During a lengthy delayed penalty, the Rangers got even when Hayes scored his second of the season at 6:42. Dominic Moore fired a bad-angle shot that Varlamov blocked with his right pad, but the rebound came to Hayes, who backhanded it in.
Tanguay, in his first game up on the top line, put the Avalanche back in front at 11:09 when he took a pass in front from the right-wing boards from defenseman Erik Johnson and knocked it past Lundqvist for his seventh of the season and third in four games.
Colorado received the first true power play when Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle — playing his first game since breaking his right hand on opening night — was called for boarding Johnson with 5:20 left in the second.
That advantage, however, lasted only 14 seconds as Tanguay was sent off for hooking.
New York tied it during 4-on-4 play when Stepan fired in a shot off a rush with 4:41 left in the second, and Girardi gave the Rangers their first lead when Zuccarello found the big defenseman in front with a feed from the right circle with 2:58 remaining.
Stepan was playing in his fourth game of the season since returning from a broken leg.
The first-period performance by both teams was the polar opposite from two nights earlier when the Rangers dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Avalanche were routed by the Islanders.
Colorado controlled play early in this one, outshooting the Rangers 12-6 and taking a 1-0 lead on Duchene’s fifth with 4:51 left.
The Rangers were sluggish throughout the period, unlike Tuesday night when they scored three times in the first en route to a 5-0 win.
NOTES: Stepan has a goal and three assists in four games. … Rangers LW Carl Hagelin played in his 200th NHL game. … Cody McLeod, who last month became the first Avalanche player with 1,000 career penalty minutes, fought Tanner Glass in the first period. … Colorado C Daniel Briere played for the first time in eight games.
By: Ira Podell, AP Hockey Writer
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