Joe Sakic reminded everyone on Wednesday night.
Playing his third game after missing 38 with a sports hernia, the Colorado captain scored the tying goal with 14.7 seconds left. He added another in the shootout, setting the stage for Marek Svatos' winning goal and lifting the Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
"Obviously Joe means everything to the organization, and having him return and have that jump and quickness he demonstrated over the last couple of games gets everybody excited around here," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He has upgraded our skill level and experience as well."
The Avalanche needed both after Alexandre Burrows scored on a wild scramble with 1:45 left to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
Sakic knocked in a rebound in the closing seconds after Jose Theodore was pulled for an extra attacker.
"It was scramble for sure," Sakic said of the final two minutes. "Unfortunately, we gave up the one goal and could have easily lost that game, so it was nice to get back rolling. Any time you can come from behind and find a way to get two points, it's a big lift for your hockey club."
Burrows dove to poke the puck in at the side of the net but it was swept out by teammate Henrik Sedin as bodies piled up in front of a sprawled Theodore. Play continued for more than 30 seconds, but a replay following the next whistle showed the puck barely crossed the goal line.
The time was put back on the clock, and Sakic needed it. He fought off the check of Willie Mitchell and lifted a backhand over Roberto Luongo as he fell.
"We had about six chances to get it out," said Luongo, who made 24 saves through overtime but only one in the shootout. "Either we shot it off our own guys or we didn't get it out. Next thing you know, a shot from the point and Sakic's alone on the side.
"I was able to get the first save and he chipped it over me for the second one. It's unacceptable, inexcusable. That should never happen, especially in an important game like that."
The point the Canucks got left them one ahead of the Avalanche, who moved into a tie with Nashville for eighth place in the Western Conference.
Mason Raymond scored the other goal for Vancouver, which had its season-high winning streak snapped at four. They have points in 10 of 11 (6-1-4) and have played two fewer games than Nashville and Colorado.
Andrew Brunette also scored and Theodore made 29 saves as Colorado completed its second third-period comeback in as many nights since bringing back free agent Forsberg and acquiring defensemen Adam Foote and Ruslan Salei in trades. Foote joined the team during the first period of Tuesday's overtime win in Calgary, and Salei made his debut in Vancouver, recording an assist on Sakic's tying goal.
Forsberg, who skated with the team for the first time Wednesday morning, said he isn't sure when he will make his on-ice return with the Avalanche.
"Every game we've injected a new player," said Quenneville, who has also gotten top forwards Paul Stastny (appendectomy) and Ryan Smyth (broken ankle) back in the past two weeks. "We've just got to keep building. Peter should be back soon and that should give us more life."
|Mason Raymond (7) ASST: Ryan Shannon (6), Alexander Edler (10)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Andrew Brunette (13) ASST: Marek Svatos (10), John-Michael Liles (24)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Alexandre Burrows (9) ASST: Taylor Pyatt (17), Willie Mitchell (8)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Joe Sakic (8) ASST: Ryan Smyth (19), Ruslan Salei (21)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||M. Hejduk||M. Raymond||0 - 0|
|2||J. Sakic||R. Shannon||1 - 0|
|3||M. Svatos||2 - 0|
|Willie Mitchell Interference against Tyler Arnason|
|Ian Laperriere Hooking against Alexandre Burrows|
|Kurt Sauer Holding against Ryan Kesler|
|Ryan Kesler Hooking against Scott Hannan|
|Cody McLeod Hooking against Mason Raymond|
|Sami Salo Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Alexander Edler Closing hand on puck|
|Daniel Sedin Hooking against Milan Hejduk|
|Cody McLeod Roughing against Alexandre Burrows|
|John-Michael Liles Delaying Game - Puck over glass|
|Daniel Sedin Holding against Andrew Brunette|
|Andrew Brunette Hooking against Markus Naslund|