DENVER –Defense and goaltending took a holiday Monday night at the Pepsi Center.
In a game where every shot was an adventure, the Colorado Avalanche pulled out a wild 7-5 win against the Chicago Blackhawks with three goals in the final 2 1-2 minutes.
"Almost every shot almost went in," said Avalanche left wing Tomas Fleischmann, who tied the game with 2:24 remaining and set up Matt Duchene for the winning goal one minute later after stealing the puck from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook behind the net. "Big chances went in and we were just waiting for a big chance. We got one or two and they went in."
Fleischmann, playing his first home game since his Nov. 30 acquisition from Washington, also collected an assist on Ryan O'Reilly's empty-net goal with 23 seconds to play. He has two goals and five assists in six games while wearing an Avalanche uniform.
"I thought he was one of the guys who looked a little bit tired up until the end," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said of Fleischmann. "Certainly, good for him, he found his legs and started skating there, him and 'Duchie', and they got something rolling there. I think Tomas is still feeling his way around here, but he's a nice addition to our team."
The Blackhawks rallied from four one-goal deficits to take a 5-4 lead at 11:43 of the third period when Troy Brouwer, who had two goals and an assist, deflected Duncan Keith's point shot behind goalie Craig Anderson after the Avalanche were penalized for too many men on the ice.
"We made a couple of mistakes," Brouwer said. "We didn't get the pucks out, didn't get the pucks in. We weren't tight enough in our 'D' zone. We gave then too much time down low and they made plays and they scored on every opportunity we gave them."
Fleischmann tied the game with a long shot from the left side and beat goalie Corey Crawford as Duchene skated through the goalmouth.
Crawford had stopped all 17 previous shots he faced after relieving Marty Turco (four goals, 10 shots) early in the second period.
"It was weird," Crawford said. "It wasn't a very hard shot. I don't know if it hit something, but I felt like I had it all the way and it felt like it might have changed direction."
Duchene put the Avalanche in front for good from just outside the crease with his second goal of the game as the crowd of 15,924 roared.
"It was a wild game, that's for sure," Sacco said. "We got some big plays from some big guys at the end of the game."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville gave Turco the hook 40 seconds into the second period after Greg Mauldin knocked the puck away from Seabrook and passed to Duchene to give the Avalanche a 4-3 lead.
Not that any lead was safe on this night.
"It was quite a whirlwind in the last two minutes," said Duchene, who has scored eight of his 11 goals in the past 10 games. "Once we got the tying goal, we had new life and we really took it to them. It's unbelievable how many goals we got tonight."
Chicago came back from 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 deficits, tying the game 4-4 when Jeremy Morin scored with 50.4 seconds left in the second period with a bad-angle shot from the right circle that skimmed by Anderson's right pad.
Anderson has gone 3-0-2 in his past five starts, but he's had better games.
"The win sweeps everything under the rug," said Anderson, who faced 34 shots. "Obviously I could be better. I've got to make some first shot saves. At the same time, our guys did a great job of clawing away to win and all that matters is we got the two points."
Each team scored three times in a wild first period. The Blackhawks tied the game 3-3 at 18:17 when Brian Bickell's shot went into the net after hitting Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote.
The Avalanche's Brandon Yip set the tone for the night when he skated to the front of the net to beat Turco 48 seconds after the opening faceoff.
After Brouwer tied the game with a power-play goal at 5:28, Paul Stastny answered for the Avalanche 57 seconds later after Yip forced a Chicago turnover.
Jack Skille retied the game for the Blackhawks at 15:24 when his shot dribbled between Anderson's pads. The Avalanche regained the lead 23 seconds later on a one-timer by Cody McLeod from between the circles.