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Avs beat Senators 6-5 in OT

by Rick Sadowski /

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche showed once again that they have the ability to come back and win regardless of how little time remains.

For the second time at the Pepsi Center this week, the Avalanche staged a late third-period rally -- this time, they pulled out a 6-5 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators Friday night on a goal at 2:36 of OT by Matt Duchene, his second of the game.

"We make it interesting, don't we?" Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said.

The Avs' fifth consecutive win moved them into sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division, two points in front of Vancouver, though the Canucks have played three fewer games.

Duchene took a pass from Tomas Fleischmann and bolted between two Ottawa defenders before unleashing a shot from the left circle past goalie Brian Elliott for the win.

"It's amazing," Duchene said. "It's my first (overtime goal) ever. It's a pretty great feeling. It's one of those things where you score and you kind of think, 'Did I just score?' You kind of black out. It's pretty cool. It's definitely a pretty good feeling and a huge win for us.

"Flash gave me a good pass there and sent me off to the races. The puck was rolling the whole way down, so I just wanted to hit the net and get it off the ice a little bit. I was able to do it, I guess, and found a hole."

The Avalanche tied the game 5-5 with 3:13 remaining in regulation when Ryan

O'Reilly drove to the net to convert Daniel Winnik's pass, finding the top right corner past Elliott.

"He made a great pass and I threw it at the net," O'Reilly said. "I just came across and I went glove side. It caught him off-guard a little bit. Third periods have been our best period. It's probably fun hockey for people to watch. We don't always want to play from behind, but we're finding ways to do it."

On Monday, the Avalanche scored three times in the final 2:24 for a 7-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

"The tying goal was just an incredibly huge goal for us," Sacco said. "It was a great play off the rush. Obviously it gets us right back in the game, and Duchie scored a big goal in overtime. We've won some games by being resilient, there's no question about it."

The Senators, playing the second game of a back-to-back, took a 5-4 lead with 8:45 to play when Nick Foligno fed Daniel Alfredsson on a 2-on-1 rush.

Ottawa hadn't scored more than three goals in their previous 18 games, since a 5-2 win against Atlanta on Nov. 9.

"We played hard and we did a lot of good things," Senators coach Cory Clouston said. "We just didn't defend very well enough or get a save when we needed one. They're a good team and they pressure you. They make you pay for your mistakes."

The Avalanche came back four times from one-goal deficits, and did it without a number of injured forwards, including Paul Stastny (back and neck) and Milan Hejduk (groin).

"I don't think anyone should be surprised by that by now," Duchene said. "Last year we were kind of the comeback team and this year it seems to be the same thing."

The Avalanche took its first lead of the game 4-3 at 2:08 of the third period when Kevin Porter scored from right in front off a pass from Philippe Dupuis, who intercepted Erik Karlsson's pass behind the net.

But the Senators, who hardly looked weary after winning 3-1 on Thursday in Minnesota, tied it at 4:29 on Jason Spezza's rebound goal against goalie Craig Anderson (24 saves) during a two-man advantage.

"They played a solid game, a tough game, especially coming in on a back-to-back," said John-Michael Liles, who had two assists and became the Avalanche's career scoring leader among defensemen with 257 points. "Fortunately for us, we were able to have a little more jump in our game."

Duchene's power-play goal during a two-man advantage tied the game 3-3 at 16:55 of the second period. He scored from the right side of the net, lifting the puck inside the near post.

"It's Christmas time, so I guess there were a few gifts out there," said Duchene, who has 10 goals and 7 assists in the past 12 games and has taken over the team scoring lead with 34 points. "That one just came to me and I just had to get it off the ice and put it in."

The Senators went ahead 3-2 at 11:39 on Matt Carkner's first goal of the season. He fired the puck from near the right-wing boards and it somehow eluded Anderson.

Colorado had tied the game 2-2 on Cody McLeod's goal at 10:14 when he batted the rebound of Liles' shot past Elliott, a late replacement for Pascal Leclaire, who suffered a lower-body injury during warmups.

"It really didn't change our game plan, but it doesn't make it easy, that's for sure," Clouston said of Leclaire's inability to play. "We just have to play with the cards we're dealt."

The Senators grabbed a 2-1 lead in the first period, sandwiching goals by Karlsson and Milan Michalek around one by the Avalanche's TJ Galiardi, who returned after missing 17 games with a broken wrist.

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