If you aren't shooting the puck, you aren't going to score. For defenseman Nikita Zadorov, the key to his success the last two games has been aiming for twine.
"I had lots of attempts a few games before but I couldn't hit the net," Zadorov said. "But when you hit the net, you got a better chance to score."
The Colorado Avalanche fought back from two deficits against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday to prevail with a 3-2 victory in overtime.
Trailing 2-1, Zadorov scored for the second contest in a row to tie the game at 11:57 of the third period.
"I think it was great overall effort," he said. "We played a really good defensive game, we play a really good offensive game. We stick with our structure all the time. You know coaches, whatever they tell us before the game, and it paid off. Hard work paid off. We worked hard tonight, and we got a win."
The 6-foot-5 rear guard tied the game by jumping into the rush right as Colorado killed off its sixth penalty of the night.
"I saw their D didn't have a great gap on me," he recalled. "I just yelled to [Blake Comeau] to pass it to me. I went down and took a shot. I saw the right corner was open on him, and it got in."
Zadorov started the season in and out of the lineup but has played on the blue line for Colorado in the club's last seven games.
"He's been coming you know, he's been coming and that's why he is playing in the second pair," said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar of Zadorov. "Playing every night and his minutes are starting to go up. I liked a lot of things that he did tonight. He was a little bit like the rest of our team, I think we were in and out of our game a little bit. Part of that is we got to remember there is another team on the ice."
Winnipeg outshot Colorado 33-26 and had 13 shots in both the second and third periods. The Jets also had six power-play chances but were kept quiet with the man advantage.
Five of the game's 13 penalties came in a nine-minute stretch in the second half of the middle stanza.
"Its kind of different, some guys play on power play all the time, some guys play on PK, some guys not playing either," Zadorov said. "It's hard to keep yourself warm on the bench all the time you know, but it's the league. It's NHL. You have to be ready all the time. It's up to you how you keep yourself ready."
Video: Postgame interview with Nikita Zadorov
Colorado has only allowed three goals while serving a penalty on home ice in 35 shorthanded situations this season, ranking the Avs third among home teams in the NHL.
The Avalanche also finished the night 2-for-5 on the power play and is now 13-for-44 with the man advantage on home ice this season, the third-best home power play in the league.
Alexander Kerfoot scored his third power-play goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 in the first period, and Nathan MacKinnon netted Colorado's second marker with an extra man to end the game in overtime.
Going into the extra frame, the Jets were serving their second bench minor penalty in the game for too many men on the ice.
MacKinnon found the back of the net just 15 seconds into overtime, but the play was deemed offside after video review by the officials and Colorado had to find a way to score again.
"I mean, we are in a position still on the power play in overtime to win the hockey game, so you got to have short-term memory there," said Bednar. "You can kind of tell leading into the last five minutes of the game that [the officials] were putting their whistles away a little bit and letting us decide it, so just kind of the way it goes sometimes. Good for our guys to stick with it and then go get another one."
Not even a minute later, MacKinnon hit twine again to end the contest for good.
"Obviously, it is a must-score situation for us, unfortunate the first call back," MacKinnon said. "We didn't panic we just went out there, we made some nice plays and we scored again"
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar after the win vs. the Jets
After only 23 games, Colorado is emphasizing the importance of every possible point and what it can mean in the standings, especially when facing a Central Division opponent.
"We play them so many times," Zadorov said of Winnipeg. "They have a great team this year, that's why they are at the top of the standings. It's real important games against them in the division like this, and we got to win those to make the playoffs."
With the victory, Colorado improved to 8-2-1 at home this season, with the lone overtime loss coming during the SAP Global Series in Sweden when the Avalanche was considered the home team.
"It's obviously fun with the fans, and the cheering and lots of people," MacKinnon said of playing at Pepsi Center. "As well as our playoff push, we need every chance we can get. Winnipeg is a great team. We are trying to chase them down and it was a lot of fun tonight."
The team was without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who is serving a four-game suspension, and Colin Wilson, who is out with a hip/groin injury.
"I thought our guys played brave, and you know we went to the right areas and tried to create some chances," said Bednar. "You got to find a way to beat teams in your division.
"We talk about that when we face all of our opponents. And we know this is one of the best teams at this point of the season. It's a good challenge for us and we had to rise to the occasion, and I thought our guys did that tonight."
MacKINNON'S STRONG NOVEMBER
Nathan MacKinnon finished the month of November with 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 12 games played. It is his career high for a single month and the fifth 20-point November in Avalanche history.
His marker in the extra frame was his third game-winning tally of the season and second overtime goal, which is tied for the league lead.
MacKinnon has registered a point in his last seven home outings and 19 of his 28 points this campaign have come on home ice.
Video: Nathan MacKinnon on the Avs OT win vs. Jets
KERFOOT RANKS AMONG ROOKIES
Forward Alexander Kerfoot netted his eighth goal and had an assist on Nathan MacKinnon's overtime tally to improve to 17 points this season.
He ranks fifth amongst NHL rookies with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) and is tied for first among first-year players with three man-advantage goals.
He played on a line with fellow rookies J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost, and the trio brought their young energy to the ice.
"Kerf, Comph and Josty played really well tonight," said MacKinnon. "They got us going."
Kerfoot is tied with MacKinnon for second on the Avalanche in goals with eight, trailing Gabriel Landeskog by one marker.