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Late Goal, Parenteau Injury Add to Avs' Woes

by Scott Ward / Colorado Avalanche

A win against Winnipeg on Sunday night might have been enough for most to forget about the injury right winger PA Parenteau sustained late in the second period at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche didn’t win, though—Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler pushed the puck across the goal line with 1.5 seconds left in overtime for a 2-1 Jets victory—so Parenteau’s knee injury came into sharp focus in the postgame, and it puts in jeopardy an 86-for-86 games played streak he’s authored since signing with the Avalanche in July 2012.

PA Parenteau

Winnipeg's late score was deflating in the short term for the Avalanche. Parenteau’s injury might have more lasting ramifications.

Defenseman Ryan Wilson had just returned Friday night from a 22-game absence after dealing with a back injury, and forward Alex Tanguay (knee/hip) remains on injured reserve after he went out Nov. 6 against Florida.

“Right now it’s hard to say,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said when asked about the severity of Parenteau’s injury. “We’ll have more idea tomorrow. He’s going to have an MRI tomorrow, then we’ll know better on what exactly it is.”

The Avs are having a terrific season—they’re 23-11-4, which is the fourth best record after 38 games in franchise history—but there was a sense all Sunday among the Colorado players that this game was a big one. It was the first of a seven-game homestand for the Avalanche, and all those wearing the burgundy and blue wanted to wash away any memories their frustrating game in Chicago.

Instead, they now have a late-game stunner to add to their motivation chart for Tuesday’s New Year’s Eve home game against Columbus.

And the Avs might be short-handed in that one.

Parenteau’s skate got locked up near center ice with Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba at 3:40 of the second period, and he immediately crumpled to the ice. once play was stopped eh was helped into the training room by Avalanche head athletic trainer Matt Sokolowski.

An early third-period press box announcement confirmed Parenteau’s absence for the rest of the game.

Nathan MacKinnon replaced him on the outside of Colorado’s “Stastny” line, with Gabriel Landeskog in the other spot. Jamie McGinn then moved into Matt Duchene’s line, opposite Ryan O’Reilly.

The change actually benefitted Colorado a bit in the third period, as MacKinnon tied the game at 1-1 at 12:11 when his ninth goal of the season got past Winnipeg goaltender Al Montoya after the most fortuitous of fortuitous bounces.It came off a redirect off the skate blade of Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian and just 29 seconds after the Jets took their 1-0 lead.

MacKinnon's shot, via Bogosian, flew past Montoya, and Pepsi Center came alive.

“I don’t know if a goal like that will ever go in in hockey again,” MacKinnon said. “They all count the same, which is nice. It doesn’t really matter how you score—I think it was important for our team to get back in it, and luckily it went in.”

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was outstanding for the Avalanche in the loss, with 35 saves made—and he claimed the game’s ceremonious First Star distinction—but he might in his sleep Sunday night see Wheeler’s deflected shot slowly gliding across the goal line just before the overtime buzzer blared.

“We got one point—that’s a positive thing,” Varlamov said. “I think we played a good game today. We had so many chances to score, and we just didn’t score, but I think offensively we played very well; created so many chances in front of the net. [We] just didn’t score.”

Added MacKinnon: “We’ve got to do a better job of winning those games, especially when ‘Varly’ plays that well for us. He’s definitely been probably our best player all year, and we’ve got to start helping him a little more, especially with [1.5 seconds] left. We’ve got to hang on there.”


- The Avs on Sunday night completed a stretch of 19 games against teams from the NHL’s Western Conference.

Colorado went 9-6-4 and earned 22 points in the stretch, which started with a resounding 5-1 win against Chicago at home Nov. 19. The Western Conference has been considered by most the stronger of the league’s two divisions this year.

“It was a tough stretch and an important one,” Roy said. “I thought we did a good job. We picked up 22 points, [and played] close to .600 (winning percentage). In our conference where there are are tough games, tough road games, our players certainly deserve [the credit].”

- The Avs donned their blue third jerseys for the fifth of 12 scheduled games this season. With the loss Colorado fell to 3-0-2 in the blues in 2013.

- Defensemen Nick Holden and Nate Guenin and forward Brad Malone were the Avalanche’s scratches. Defenseman Ryan Wilson returned to the lineup Friday night.

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