DENVER (AP) — J.T Compher scored at 2:50 of overtime and Tyson Jost and Vladislav Namestnikov also had goals to lead the Colorado Avalanche over the New York Rangers 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Cale Makar had three assists in his return to the lineup from an upper-body injury that kept him out for five games. Compher tipped in his shot from the top of the zone to give Colorado the win.
“He looked rusty, he looked like he was fumbling the puck, his defensive details weren’t great, his gaps weren’t great and then he goes out and gets three points, including a big play on the game winner,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said of Makar. “He finds a way, finds a way to get it done on the offensive side.”
Pavel Francouz stopped 30 shots for the Avalanche.
The Rangers gained a point on Carolina and Columbus in the chase for the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference. Mika Zibanejad scored his 41st goal, Pavel Buchnevich also scored while Adam Fox had two assists. Alexandar Georgiev had 25 saves, for New York, which is two points behind the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets.
“We’re not happy to lose a game but we’ll take the point and move on,” Zibanejad said.
New York isn’t scheduled to play until Saturday at Arizona, and concerns surrounding the coronavirus has left in question the rest of the season in light of the NBA suspending its schedule after Wednesday’s game.
“We can’t speculate on the course of action will be taken by the NHL. Logistically, we’ll stay here tonight and make a decision following the NHL update tomorrow morning,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “This is a very fluid situation with things constantly changing so don’t want to speak to anything further at this time.”
Colorado played without All-Star center Nathan MacKinnon, who missed his first game of the season. MacKinnon, who came into Wednesday fifth in the NHL in scoring with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists), suffered a lower-body injury in a loss at Los Angeles on Monday night.
“It’s a big piece, but it just fueled us, the whole team and obviously our line as well that we want to come out and prove that it’s not just Nate,” Gabriel Landeskog said. “We want to come out and show that we’re a heck of a team without him as well.”
The Avalanche stayed within a two points of St. Louis. The Blues have played one more game than Colorado and have 94 points, tops in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche are 15-5-2 since losing four in a row in early January.
Zibanejad gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 6:28 of the first, continuing is torrid streak. He has scored at least one goal in the last six games and has 17 in the last 13.
Jost tied it later in the first with his eighth of the season and Namestnikov put Colorado up when he beat Georgiev on a screened shot at 3:55 of the second period. It was his 17th of the season and fifth since joining the Avalanche at the trade deadline.
With Georgiev on the bench for an extra skater Buchnevich’s 16th goal of the season tied it with 13 seconds left.
“For sure it was disappointing to get scored on late in the game,” Francouz said. “It was kind of an unlucky play, but it doesn’t matter now. We still have two points, and that’s big.”
NOTES: Gabriel Landeskog also had two assists. … Zibanejad has five goals in his last nine games against Colorado. … Avalanche RW Joonas Donskoi was helped off the ice late in the third after a hard hit by Rangers LW Brendan Lemieux. … New York suffered just its second road loss in the last 12 games.
Rangers: Play at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.
Avalanche: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.