CALGARY, Alberta--In the second game of its first-round series with the Calgary Flames, the Colorado Avalanche turned to its offensive leader.
Nathan MacKinnon scored his second-career, playoff overtime goal to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1 as the Avs won 3-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday. The first-round matchup now heads to Denver for the next two contests.
"I think I just kind of read that [Flames defenseman Rasmus] Andersson was stepping up on Mikko [Rantanen], and I just tried to get ahead of the F3," said MacKinnon. "I got a step and Mikko made a great pass from his triangle, a little saucer pass. I managed to get another step on that weak-side D, just to get a shot off, and I put it where I wanted to."
MacKinnon is one of three players on Colorado's roster that has scored an playoff overtime goal, as Matt Calvert has two and Derick Brassard has netted one.
Colorado played past regulation in the postseason for the first time since April 30, 2014 versus the Minnesota Wild.
Video: Nathan MacKinnon after the Avs' Game 2 win
MacKinnon led the team this season and finished tied for seventh in league scoring with a career-high 99 points (41 goals, 58 assists) in 82 games. His 99 points were the most by an Avalanche player since Joe Sakic had 100 in 2006-07.
The Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, native now has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 15 career playoff games.
"I mean there is nothing like a Stanley Cup-overtime goal," Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said of MacKinnon's marker. "I have said it before, but Nate is a superstar and that is what superstars do. That is a good feeling and obviously this is a big one here tonight, but 1-1 and coming home and now we got to repeat this effort."
Before MacKinnon raced down the ice to end the game at 8:27 of the extra frame, goaltender Philipp Grubauer had to stop a point blank shot by Calgary to keep the outing knotted at 2-2.
Video: COL@CGY, Gm2: MacKinnon wins it after Grubauer save
"It is a great stop by [Grubauer], and it's kind of a bang-bang play and they come from behind the net. Grubi finds a way I think to get his glove on it, and it turns the other way," said Landeskog. "Nate was skating like it was first period, first shift--I mean that is the kind of speed he has got, and he is in great shape. Mikko makes a nice play to him, and he bangs it to the back of the net. It is what good players do."
The Avalanche franchise is now 38-29 (24-14 on the road) all-time in playoff overtimes and has a 28-20 record in extra frames since moving to Denver.
COMPHER TIES IT UP LATE: J.T. Compher netted his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs goal to tie the game at 2-2 in the closing minutes of the contest.
Head coach Jared Bednar pulled Grubauer for an extra attacker with 2:48 remaining in the third period as the Avs tried to erase a one-goal deficit.
"Nate, first off did a great job of winning the draw, and Mikko through the seam," said Compher. "It wasn't as clean as we would have wanted, but it got the puck going to the net and that was the plan, get bodies and pucks going to the net."
Video: COL@CGY, Gm2: Compher buries tying goal late in 3rd
BACK TO PEPSI CENTER: Colorado and Calgary will each travel to Denver on Sunday, as the series shifts down the Rocky Mountains.
"I think we have always had the confidence in this room and tonight shows it," Compher said. "Down late or run into a hot goalie, we know we can win games against this team. We are thrilled to be going back with one and get back in front of that Pepsi Center crowd and try to get a lead in the series."
Game 3 is set for 8 p.m. MT on Monday at Pepsi Center.
"That is a split, that is the least we came here for. Obviously, we would have liked to win both games but a 1-1 split, we will take that," said Landeskog. "Now it is a matter of us coming home and repeating this effort. We are not going to sit back, we are not going to enjoy this one for a whole lot longer than for another hour or whatever and then it is right back to prepare for Monday."
Video: Gabriel Landeskog after the Avs' OT victory in Game 2
NIETO'S SHORT-HANDED TALLY: Matt Nieto netted the fourth playoff goal of his career and his first since April 22, 2016 in Game 5 of San Jose's first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings.
The marker was the first of the game and came on a penalty kill. It was the 13th short-handed goal in Avalanche playoff history (since 1995-96) and the club's first since April 28, 2014 at Minnesota.
Video: COL@CGY, Gm2: Nieto beats Smith top shelf for SHG
MORE AVALANCHE NOTES: Mikko Rantanen recorded his second career multi-point playoff game (also: April 16, 2018 vs. Nashville).
Tyson Barrie (28:13), Alexander Kerfoot (20:19), Nathan MacKinnon (26:26), Carl Soderberg (22:37) and Mikko Rantanen (22:53) each registered career highs in postseason time on ice.
Barrie's four shots matched a postseason career high, while Erik Johnson's seven shots was a new career high for the defenseman in the playoffs. Nathan MacKinnon also matched a postseason career high with seven shots and set a new playoff career best with 10 faceoff wins.
Nikita Zadorov matched a playoffs career best with three blocked shots (also: April 12, 2018 at Nashville).
Philipp Grubauer reached a new postseason career high with 35 saves (surpassing his previous career best in the playoffs from Game 1 in this series, 28 saves).