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Avalanche top Bruins in shootout

by Rick Sadowski /

DENVER -- Goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped all three shooters he faced after Nathan MacKinnon scored in the shootout and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

MacKinnon scored against Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in the first round for the only goal in the tiebreaker. Rask stopped Matt Duchene and Alex Tanguay, while Varlamov made saves against Reilly Smith, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron.

The Avalanche (20-18-10) tied the game with 1:45 left in the third period on a goal by Ryan O'Reilly after Varlamov went to the bench for an extra attacker. O'Reilly was in the slot when he put a backhander over a prone Rask after John Mitchell took a shot that deflected off teammate Dennis Everberg's stick.

"(Cody) McLeod and Mitchell were battling in the corner, Everberg was there and I was trying to find that soft area in front," O'Reilly said. "It was nice to put it in. The puck came in and I don't know exactly what it hit, but it came right on my tape and I was lucky enough to get it up and over (Rask)."

Varlamov forced overtime by making a save against Loui Eriksson on a 2-on-1 Boston rush off a pass from Carl Soderberg in the waning seconds of regulation. The Avalanche outshot the Bruins 4-0 in overtime and defenseman Brad Stuart rang a shot off the right post 30 seconds into the extra period.

"It's definitely disappointing considering we were up with a couple minutes left," said left wing Brad Marchand, who gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead at 4:47 of the third period in his return after serving a two-game suspension. "We did get a point. It could be worse, we couldn't have gotten any. Going into the [All-Star] break, we've got to be happy with how we battled back and put ourselves in a playoff position."

The Bruins (25-16-7) are 6-1-1 in their past eight games and have moved into the second Eastern Conference wild-card position for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are tied with the Washington Capitals (24-13-9) with 57 points and 23 non-shootout wins, but have played two more games.

Marchand's goal came after the Bruins killed off the Avalanche's fifth power play of the game. Boston has killed 38 of 40 opposition power plays in its past 10 games.

"It's a disappointing finish to a good little stretch we had," said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who tied the game 1-1 at 6:18 of the second period when he knocked in the rebound of Pastrnak's shot. The goal was his first in nine games and ninth of the season. "We have to understand we're playing some solid hockey and we have to continue that after the break."

The Bruins killed off three consecutive Avalanche power plays in the period, including two 5-on-3 advantages, the first for 21 seconds and the other for 43 seconds. Colorado has three goals on 32 power plays in the past 11 games.

"A goal there could have been a difference maker, absolutely," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Their goalie played real well, he made some good saves. They certainly defended very well. But it was important to win that game. We were resilient, down 2-1 late in the game, pulling the goalie and that was a big goal and a good job by our guys in front of the net. We had a strong third period."

The Avalanche outshot the Bruins 15-5 in the third, 4-0 in overtime and 36-24 for the game.

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead with :00.4 remaining in the first period on a goal by former Bruins forward Jarome Iginla. Tanguay took a shot from the left side and Duchene, while he was in front of the net with Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, deflected the puck to Iginla at the bottom of the right circle. Iginla scored into a half-open net and video replay confirmed the puck crossed the goal line in time.

The goal was Iginla's team-leading 14th of the season and the 574th of his NHL career, moving him past Hall of Famer Mike Bossy into sole possession of 20th place on the all-time list.

"I didn't even know that it was so close on the time," Iginla said. "You know that time is running down in the period, you are just trying to go to the net. I didn't realize it was that close as far as no time left. (It was) definitely a nice break. It almost feels like you scored twice because at first, you're like, 'Yeah' and then you are like, 'Oh no, are they taking it away?' And then we get excited again, so it feels good."

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