DENVER – There isn't a more confident team in the NHL than the Colorado Avalanche when it comes to shootouts.
Even after surrendering a late third-period goal that sent Monday night's game to overtime, the Avalanche responded with a 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers, their sixth shootout victory in as many attempts this season.
"This is not the way you want to go, but sometimes it takes 65 minutes or even more to get a win," said Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who stopped 31 shots through overtime. "Two points are two points."
"I guess when you get three goals in a shootout like that you should definitely get the win," said Giguere, who watched Semyon Varlamov win the team's first five shootouts. "It wasn't pretty in my end, but I'll take the win."
The Avalanche have won nine shootouts in a row going back to last season and 17 of the past 18.
The loss prevented the Flyers from keeping pace with Boston for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins, who routed the Flyers 6-0 on Saturday, defeated Montreal on Monday and lead Philadelphia by one point (45-44).
The Flyers did salvage a point by tying the game 2-2 when Wayne Simmonds scored from the edge of the crease off a behind-the-net feed from Danny Briere with 18.1 seconds left in regulation during a mad scramble in front with Bryzgalov on the bench for a sixth skater.
"There were lots of bodies at the net and I didn't know where the puck was anymore," Giguere said. "Everybody was crashing the net and they paid the price and got a goal."
Said Briere: "Somehow the puck bounced behind everyone and I think Giguere was looking the other way. I just went around the other way and wrapped it around (for Simmonds)."
It was the second time in a week that the Avalanche won a shootout after permitting a late goal. Colorado defeated San Jose 4-3 last Tuesday after giving up a goal to Patrick Marleau with 22 seconds to play in the third period.
"It was a real big two points for us," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "We continue to build something here pretty strong at home. We win in a shootout despite giving up a late goal. It's still a very good win against the team that leads the NHL in goals; we held them to one goal until the final seconds. They're one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference as well, so it's gratifying."
The Avalanche scored twice in the second period to take a 2-1 lead on goals by rookie Gabriel Landeskog and T.J. Galiardi.
Landeskog, who hadn't scored since Nov. 8, banged the puck behind Bryzgalov at 12:26 to tie the score. Shane O'Brien fired the puck from 45 feet, Landeskog cradled it on his stick in front and stepped around Bryzgalov all in one motion before sliding it home for his first goal in 19 games.
"I was screaming my head off there," Landeskog said. "I was going to the net and he somehow saw me or heard me. It's a great feeling to put the puck in the net, especially at home. It comes down to working hard. If you're not scoring goals you have to keep shooting the puck and keep working hard, and that's what I've been trying to do."
Galiardi was credited with the go-ahead goal with 43.3 seconds remaining in the period. Rookie Brad Malone threw the puck in front and it bounced two skates, the first belonging to Flyers left wing Tom Sestito and then off Galiardi's skate past a startled Bryzgalov.
"We weren't happy with our second period," Briere said. "The Avs took it to us, especially my line. We gave them the first goal because of a mistake by me down low. We wanted to find a way to get our team back in the game. It took a long time, longer than we wanted."
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a power-play goal by Scott Hartnell at 18:30 after Landeskog was assessed a double-minor for cutting Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen with a high stick. The Flyers took advantage of a 2-on-1 down low when Jakub Voracek passed across to Hartnell on the left side for a chip shot past Giguere.
Hartnell's goal snapped the Flyers' 0-for-13 slump on power plays, but Philadelphia failed to connect on three more man advantages Monday, including one midway through the third period.
1 - 0 PHI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 COL