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Iginla, Avs Get Their Redemption

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

When one goal is taken away, respond by scoring two others.

At least that is how Jarome Iginla went about his business Wednesday night at Pepsi Center in the Colorado Avalanche's 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. He scored the tying goal with 3:14 left in the second period and then recorded the game-winner with 2:03 remaining in the third period.

"It was a gutsy win for us," Iginla said. "We weren't as good early, but we found a way to get better as the game went on and win an important game."

Colorado erased 1-0 and 2-1 deficits before Iginla notched his 97th career game-winning goal, tying Montreal Hockey Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur for eighth place in NHL history.

Mikhail Grigorenko helped set up the rush by stealing the puck from Canadiens defenseman PK Subban before feeding it to Matt Duchene through the neutral zone. Grigorenko got the puck back from Duchene and quickly dished it to No. 12, who was waiting atop the crease with his stick ready to tap in a juicy score.

"There was great poise there, just to wait a little bit as the goalie slides a little more and than there is a wide open net," Iginla said of the sequence that had Duchene pause slightly at high slot before finding Grigorenko at the left circle. "[Grigorenko] put a nice one in there. You dream of those open nets late."

Iginla was in perfect position, according to Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy.

"That was a nice goal," Roy said. "When Jarome is around the net, it helps our team."

The game-winner was the exclamation point of the evening for Iginla, but the story had been building after he scored just minutes after a disallowed goal in the second period.

Iginla and the Avs thought they tied the contest 2-2 with 6:09 left in the middle stanza as the right wing picked up a rebound in front of the crease, turned and swiped the puck into the net. However, the tally was immediately waved off as the officials ruled that Iginla bumped into Ben Scrivens, which caused the netminder to fall to the ice and be unable to make the save.

Iginla did indeed make contact with Scrivens, but it appeared to be incidental and not deserving of the goal being waved off. Iginla was then slapped with a two-minute penalty for goalie interference.

"I understand that maybe could be called off, but I thought I was out of the crease. But those things happen," Iginla said. "I was definitely surprised to get the penalty. What a big kill by the guys, because that's a big swing. You go from thinking you might have scored to now you're in the penalty box and now you got to kill it. That was big."

Nearly three minutes after the goal was taken away, the veteran forward got his redemption. Iginla powered a slap shot from the high left circle past Scrivens just nine seconds into a man-advantage chance to tie the game 2-2.

"It's a nice feeling as a team and personally after we kill it and then we get a power play shortly after," he said. "To be able to score on that definitely feels good."

The power-play marker was the 187th of Iginla's career, passing Pat Verbeek for 23rd all time in NHL history.

The Edmonton, Alberta, native was also playing in his 1,452rd career game, moving him past Teemu Selanne (1,451) for sole possession of 22nd place on the NHL's all-time list.

After a fairly quiet previous two months, Iginla has started to rack up the points again. He leads the team in scoring in the month of February with four goals and five assists in seven games.

He likely could have had that fifth goal, but there didn't seem to be any hard feelings afterward. The team got the win and the important two points in the standings.


Erik Johnson recorded his second short-handed goal of the season and the third of his career at 3:31 of the second period in what was a momentum changing score. The Avs were coming off a sluggish opening period, and Johnson's far shot seemed to energize the club and the Pepsi Center faithful.

On a rush the other way, Johnson received a cross-ice pass from Gabriel Landeskog and sent a shot past the blocker of Scriven's to knot the game at 1-1. It was the defenseman's ninth goal of the season.

"Shorties are huge. You never expect to pop one in but when you do, it's a bonus," Johnson said. "As long as we keep the puck out of our net on the PK, that's the main goal, but if you can add some offense, that's always something we try to do when we jump into the play, and fortunately for me there was some room."

Johnson became the first Avalanche blueliner to tally twice while shorthanded in a season since Karlis Skrastins did it in the 2005-06 campaign.

Overall, it was Colorado's seventh shorty of the season and second against Montreal. Blake Comeau scored with the Avs down a man on the ice in the clubs' first meeting on Nov. 14 at Bell Center. Comeau and Johnson are also the only Avalanche players to have multiple short-handed goals this year.


•As a team, the Avs have scored seven short-handed goals, their most since 2010-11 (8).

•Johnson’s nine goals overall this season lead all Colorado defensemen.

Francois Beauchemin’s assist tonight gives him 27 points for the season (7g/20a), his highest total since 2006-07, when he had 28 points with Anaheim.

Mikhail Grigorenko extended his point streak to three games (0g/3a), tying his career high set earlier this season from Nov. 19-23.

•The Avalanche swept the season series from the Canadiens, winning 6-1 in Montreal on Nov. 14 and 3-2 tonight.

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