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Postgame Wrap-Up: Avs Comeback for OT Win in Game 4

Colorado extends series lead to 3-1

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche found itself down 2-0 with 13 minutes left in regulation in Game 4 of its first-round series with the Calgary Flames, but the game was far from over.

The Avs fought back to defeat the Flames 3-2 in overtime at Pepsi Center on Wednesday and extended their lead to 3-1 in the best-of-seven set.

J.T. Compher got Colorado on the board first when he collected the puck on a rebound and sent it into the Flames net. He now has a point in each of the last three contests (two goals, one assist) and is tied for second on the Avalanche in postseason goals.

"We have done it a few times this year, there is belief in this room that no matter what the score is we can come back," said Compher. "We showed that tonight. We stuck with it, we didn't panic, we kept playing our game and turning it back on them and playing offense. It made us successful."

Video: CGY@COL, Gm4: Compher gets Avalanche on the board

The Avs have had to battle back all year and showed their resiliency at the end of the regular campaign. Colorado was six points out of the second wild-card spot with three weeks remaining in the season on March 17 and had to jump three different team to clinch a playoff berth. 

Colorado responded with a league-best 8-0-2 record in its next 10 contests, gaining 18 out of a possible 20 points in 19 days to qualify for the postseason for the second consecutive year. 

 

"I think it's important that you go to the playoffs with a good push, and that's exactly what we did," said Mikko Rantanen. "We had rough times in the season, but the way we finished, last 10 games, eight wins or something like that, so that's how we want to finish the season before playoffs. Get hot at the right time."

Rantanen netted both the second and third outing of the game for Colorado to help the team win its third in a row.

"[In the] 8-0-2 run, we won games in a bunch of different ways," said head coach Jared Bednar. "We were willing to win and capable of winning a 1-0 game, or we were getting out to early starts and putting teams away, we were coming back from behind.

"That's always a good sign when you're finding different ways to win hockey games and different guys are stepping up. Our commitment level went way up and then we tried to carry that on into the playoffs. When you do that, you're tough to play against."

Video: Coach Jared Bednar after the Avs' OT win in Game 4 

MIKKO, TIMES TWO: Right wing Mikko Rantanen netted both the game-tying goal and the overtime-winner, his first career game-winning tally in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It was also Rantanen's first multi-goal postseason outing, and he has now scored in two straight contests. Additionally, he has points in the last three games of the series.

"Real strong on the puck, moving his feet, making plays. I feel like he's gradually gotten better," Bednar said of Rantanen. "Tonight, when I put him back with [Nathan MacKinnon] and [Gabriel Landeskog], they were real good. Obviously, the release he had on his goal the other night and tonight, it's on and off his tape lightning fast and he's finding the back of the net. I think he's playing really well right now. Our top guys, they're impact players right now for us almost every shift and that's what we need them to be."

Rantanen has six points (three goals, three assists) in four playoff games, tied for the team lead and fifth in the league in postseason scoring.

Video: CGY@COL, Gm4: Rantanen ties game late, wins it in OT

SHOTS, SHOTS AND MORE SHOTS: For the second consecutive contest, the Avalanche recorded 50 or more shots on net. Colorado sent 52 shots at Calgary goaltender Mike Smith, including 17 in the second period.

"I think we're just really hungry on the pucks. We stop at the net and a lot of shots are from rebounds," said Rantanen. "We get rebound chances like [how] J.T. scored the first goal [of the game] and that's our mentality. We want to get a lot of shots on [Smith]. He's a good goalie, but I think if we crash the net at all, there's rebounds so we just have to do the same thing next game."

Colorado recorded 56 shots on net in a 6-2 win in Game 3 on Monday, the second-most shots in a playoff game in franchise history and the most in a regulation postseason contest.

GRUUUUUBAUER: Goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 35 saves in the contest, including five in the extra frame.

Some of his biggest saves of the night came about two and a half minutes into overtime. He stopped Matthew Tkachuk's shot and then denied two attempts from Mikael Backlund, all within a three-second span.

Grubauer got his left pad up just enough while he was sprawled on the ice to stop Backlund's point-blank shot.

"I gave it right to him, so desperation save, made up for it," Grubauer said of the sequence. "Kind of got away from me, but I think it was a good save and killed off the next penalty and we scored."

Video: CGY@COL, Gm4: Grubauer lifts pad for terrific OT save

GAME 5 ON FRIDAY: The Avalanche has a chance to win the best-of-seven set on Friday when it meets Calgary at Scotiabank Saddledome for Game 5. 

"It's going to be hard, it's the hardest one," said Bednar. "Everyone knows the last one, the one you're trying to get to close out the series, is the hardest one. It's a proud team over there in Calgary, it's a really good team. A lot of character, they're well-coached. It's tough and now we got to go to Calgary and find a way to win another hockey game."

Colorado is 9-2 all-time in playoff series when taking a 3-1 series lead. It is the first time that the Avalanche owns a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven matchup since the 2006 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Dallas (Colorado won series 4-1).

"Up 3-1, but the next one is going to be tough," said Grubauer. "To end the team's season is always the hardest. You now they're going to come out in their own barn, and they're going to be ready for sure."

Video: Philipp Grubauer on the Avalanche's Game 4 win in OT

MORE AVALANCHE NOTES: The Avalanche/Nordiques franchise is now 39-29 all-time in overtime contests in the postseason, including a 29-20 record since moving to Denver. 

Colorado's 46 hits are its most in a playoff game in club history.

After going scoreless on the power play in the first two games of the series, Colorado has scored with the man advantage in both Games 3 and 4, going 3-for-12 (25.0 percent).

Matt Nieto registered an assist and now has four points (two goals, two assists) in the series, tied for first on the team (Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen).

Nathan MacKinnon finished with an assist and now has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 17 career playoff games, the highest points-per-game average (1.24) among active players. It is also tied for sixth (Bobby Orr, Mike Bossy) in Stanley Cup Playoffs history among players with at least 10 points.

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