While it wasn't as dramatic as Daniel Briere's 300th career goal in the final second of regulation—really inside the last tick as there were 0.5 seconds left on the clock—to send the Avs to a 2-1 victory over the Bruins in the clubs' first meeting on Oct. 13 at TD Garden, Jarome Iginla did bring some fireworks to the end of the first period on Wednesday in Denver.
Iginla scored on a rebound with 0.4 seconds left in the opening frame to give the Avalanche a 1-0 advantage going into the intermission. Colorado went on to erase a late third-period deficit and defeated Boston 3-2 in a shootout.
After the game, Iginla referred to his goal as a nice break, but in reality it showed the Avalanche playing hard until the buzzer sounded. With time winding down, Colorado could have taken it easy and gone into the locker room tied at zero, but instead the Avs pushed the pace in an attempt to get one more scoring opportunity.
Iginla said he had no idea how much time was on the clock or how close his goal was to the first period horn.
"You know time is running down in the period, but you're just trying to go to the net," he said. "I thought [Matt Duchene] made a great play at our blue line to turn it around with seven or eight seconds left to get it over to [Alex Tanguay] and then all of a sudden we had a rush."
The sequence began after Duchene put on the jets through the neutral zone and dropped the puck off to his left for Tanguay at the Boston blue line. After playing the puck along the wall, Tanguay threw it to the net where Duchene and Iginla were charging to disrupt Tuukka Rask and clean up any rebounds. The puck ricocheted off Rask and right to Iginla, who swiped a shot past two diving Bruin defensemen and the 2014 Vezina Trophy-winning goalie.
The goal was reviewed and upheld after it was determined that the clock had yet to hit zeros.
"It almost feels like you scored twice," Iginla said. "At first you're like, 'Yeah!,' and then you're like, 'Oh no, are they taking it away?,' and then we get excited again."
It also energized the Avs for the second stanza.
"That's a great momentum swing," Ryan O'Reilly said of Iginla's tally. "After having a good solid period and then to play right to the buzzer and to get a bounce like that, coming [into the second period] we have a lot of life and something you build on."
The score was Iginla's team-leading 14th of the season and the 574th of his NHL career, moving him past Mike Bossy for sole possession of 20th place on the NHL's all-time goals list. The right wing is now just three red-lighters away from tying Mark Recchi (577) for 19th in the league's annals.
Iginla, who was playing in his 1,358th career game, is also two points shy of 1,200, which would tie him with Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place all time in scoring.
The victory was also a little bit sweeter for Iginla as he played for the Bruins last season.
"It's always fun for anybody, when you're playing your old team, to try and beat them," Iginla said. "Every game to win is fun period. I have some buddies on the other side, and we all respect their team and know that they are getting it going and playing well. It's a big win for us."
O'REILLY'S LATE-GAME HEROICS
With time running out and with the puck on his stick, Ryan O'Reilly had to make a quick decision on how he would shoot off a rebound. Should he quickly get a shot off with traffic still in front or does he make one more move and risk losing his opening.
O'Reilly decided to make the additional move and it worked, moving the puck from his forehand to his backhand before getting the shot off in the slot and beating Rask for the tying goal at 18:15 of the third.
"That was one of those things coaches said before the game, on Rask you want to change your angle," O'Reilly said. "Was in front, saw a body and just tried to move it over and get it up and lucky enough it went in."
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said he liked how the team kept the pressure on Boston late in the contest, praising Dennis Everberg and Cody McLeod for screening Rask and John Mitchell for getting the original shot off.
"We were resilient. Down 2-1 late in the game, pulling the goalie, and that was a good job by our guys to go to the front of the net," Roy said. "Everberg and McLeod, Mitchy put it on net and Factor picked up the loose puck in the slot area and put a backhand over the shoulder of their goalie. I thought we were resilient. I thought we worked hard on that shift."
QUICK SWITCH IN THE LINEUP
Colorado went with an 11-forward, seven-defenseman lineup against Boston, as forward Daniel Briere was the team's lone healthy scratch.
Roy had several reasons why he decided to go with the non-traditional lineup.
"The situation with [Erik Johnson] missing practice [yesterday], sometimes we don't want to take a chance. Plus, we felt that [Zach Redmond] needed to play," Roy said. "I thought it would be a good idea to double shift some of our guys on that third or fourth line."
For Redmond, it was his first game since Dec. 29 at St. Louis as he had been a healthy scratch for the past 11 contests. He played most of the game with Brad Stuart on defense, seeing 13:30 of ice time while contributing three shots and finishing with a plus-1 rating.
The Avs had all 21 healthy skaters out on the ice for warm-up before the decision was made to scratch Briere.