Jamie McGinn’s score with eight seconds left Sunday night helped the Avalanche avoid its first shutout of the season in a 3-1 loss at Rogers Arena.
McGinn, who scored for the first time since putting in the game winner Nov. 23 at Los Angeles, got Colorado on the board with a blasted shot that hit Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo’s right-leg padding before slipping into the netting.
Nick Holden started the scoring chance when he grabbed a Vancouver clearing try and slapped the puck back into the slot, where Cody McLeod was there with a redirect to McGinn.
“We pulled the goalie with five minutes left in the game, and it was important for us as coaches to show our players that, ‘We are not quitting,’ and they did the same thing—they kept going,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “You know what? All year we’ve been like this. We never quit. We battled through, and I honestly thought we played a better game than [Vancouver]. Unfortunately, we have nothing to show for the result.
“Both goalies were good, and it could have gone either way, I think.”
McGinn’s last-second score kept Luongo from his 65th career shutout, which would have pulled him to within one of Roy, who is well ahead of the Canucks goalie in career wins (551 to 362) after Roy retired from playing in 2003 with the most regular-season wins in NHL history and still ranks second all-time.
“There’s no danger there,” Roy said with a grin, in reference to Luongo eclipsing his shutout mark. “Don’t worry. He’ll pass me there for sure. It might be a bit of work on wins, though.”
HOLDEN JUST MISSES
Nick Holden in the second period was inches away from scoring his third goal of the season and his second of this road trip when he threw the puck on net from about 20 feet inside the Avalanche zone.
His shot came 3:19 before the second intermission and cleared Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo before clanging off the crossbar and sliding directly parallel to the goal line, slowly making its way across before bumping into the opposite post.
There was a moment where all the skaters on the ice paused, wondering if Holden had just tied the game 1-1, but the near official quickly waved it off and play resumed.
“I just hit it as hard as I can,” Holden said. “I just hit the crossbar there, and it went straight down. Kind of a funny play. Close but no cigar.”
Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda was one of two scratches for Colorado on Sunday night after he suffered what was later characterized as a knee sprain in the first period of Thursday night’s loss at Edmonton.
Hejda traveled back to Denver on Friday and met with team physician Dr. Andrew Parker. He’s expected to miss 10 to 14 days, which might have him back with the Avalanche before its starts a three-game homestand from Dec. 21 to 27 against the Kings, Sharks and Blackhawks.
Hejda was injured Thursday when he crashed into the corner boards after he got tangled up with Edmonton’s Mark Arcobello in a puck pursuit in the Avs’ zone.
Hejda immediately clutched his knee after the collision and was later helped off the ice, with an arm draped around Colorado trainer Matt Sokolowski and fellow defenseman Nate Guenin.
CAN’T SOLVE THIS PLACE
The Avalanche lost Sunday for the eighth consecutive time at Rogers Centre and saw its winless skid here grow to nine games (0-8-1).
Colorado’s last win in Vancouver came in a 4-3, shootout victory April 6, 2010. Its last regulation-time victory was April 5, 2009 in a 4-1 win.