Grounded in Mile High City

Winnipeg's second too-many-men penalty proves costly in OT


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DENVER — In a game of mishaps, bad penalties and near-misses, the end of Wednesday’s Jets-Colorado Avalanche showdown at the Pepsi Center had a suitably wacky flourish.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/11/2017 (1886 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

DENVER — In a game of mishaps, bad penalties and near-misses, the end of Wednesday’s Jets-Colorado Avalanche showdown at the Pepsi Center had a suitably wacky flourish.

Nathan MacKinnon scored the winner 59 seconds into overtime, on a power play, to give the hosts a 3-2 triumph. It was actually MacKinnon’s second goal of the extra period. He had scored moments earlier, only to have the marker disallowed by a video review that caught defenceman Tyson Barrie offside on the play.

The Jets were doomed by a too-many-men penalty with eight seconds left in regulation.

David Zalubowski / The Associated Press Colorado Avalanche defenceman Anton Lindholm and forward J.T. Compher fail to stop Winnipeg Jets centre Bryan Little as he pushes the puck past goaltender Semyon Varlamov for a goal during the third period Wednesday in Denver.

“A penalty late, it is what is is, going into overtime 4-on-3 they’ve got a lot of skill,” said Winnipeg defenceman Josh Morrissey. “I thought we had a pretty good plan. We got fortunate with the offside (call). We tried to come back and I think the shot went off my backside and in… We found a way at least to get a point.”

Morrissey was particularly unlucky in OT. The winner went in off his pants and the disallowed goal was redirected off his stick and past goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

“It was a grinding game,” said Morrissey. “I thought both teams had momentum at points. We had some chances, they had some chances. You’ve got a 2-2 game going to overtime. You’re playing well enough to win. It’s unfortunate, obviously, the way it ended. But it’s one of those games.”

The Avs, seventh in the Central Division, improved to 12-9-2, while the second-place Jets went to 15-6-4 and pulled to within one point of the front-running St. Louis Blues.

An inspired play from Nikolaj Ehlers and Bryan Little was almost enough to deliver the Jets to the win column 4:08 into the third period. With the teams locked in a 1-1 slugfest, the 21-year-old Danish left-winger gathered the puck in the neutral zone and flew into the Avs zone, won the angle on defenceman Tyson Barrie and put a backhand shot on Semyon Varlamov’s pad. The rebound went to Little, who scored on his second crack at the puck. It was his fourth goal and eighth point in his last nine games.

To Winnipeg’s chagrin, the lead didn’t last. Nikita Zadorov tied the game again, beating Hellebuyck with a rising shot over his blocker at 11:57.

Morrissey got the Jets off to a blazing start at 8:43 of the first period, teeing off on a point shot that appeared to change direction as it glanced off Colorado forward Matt Nieto and behind Varlamov. Varlamov was making his first start since missing three games with an illness.

The Jets have made a habit of holding leads — going 11-1-2 in games in which they had scored first — but the early burst didn’t last.

The pesky Avs are good at home and it wasn’t long before Alexander Kerfoot made it 1-1 on a power play at 13:21, chipping the puck over the goal-line as a sprawling Hellebuyck lost his mask. Hellebuyck protested but he got no sympathy from the officiating crew. The strap on Hellebuyck’s mask came loose on the impact of McKinnon’s original shot and the puck slid to a unguarded Kerfoot.

Rule 9.6 of the NHL rulebook pertaining to helmets clearly states: “When the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity.”

Carl Soderberg nearly gave the hosts a lead in the final seconds of the opening period, taking a cross-ice pass and ripping a shot off the crossbar.

STAYING HEALTHIER: the Jets entered Wednesday’s game with 39 man games lost to injury. A year ago, they had already racked up 108 man games lost en route to a 355 total for the season.

This season, Matt Hendricks (seven games), Adam Lowry (nine) and Mathieu Perreault (12) have had the most extensive absences. By this stage of the 2016-17 season, Little, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Mark Stuart and Tyler Myers had already missed big chunks of playing time due to injury.

NOTEWORTHY: Winnipeg went 0-for-4 on the power play while Colorado finished 2-for-5… Winnipeg outshot Colorado 33-26.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.


Updated on Thursday, November 30, 2017 6:57 AM CST: Fixes typos, adds photo

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