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O'Reilly, Iginla help Avalanche rally to top Jets

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Rookie goalie Calvin Pickard isn't playing like an emergency call-up who will be sent back to the minors once Semyon Varlamov recovers from his groin injury.

Pickard made 30 saves through overtime, including an Andrew Ladd breakaway and Bryan Little rebound in the extra period. He then prevented Mathieu Perreault and Blake Wheeler from scoring in the shootout, and the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

"I know those two guys have a lot of skill," Pickard said of Perreault and Wheeler. "I actually have faced Wheeler in the summers sometimes. I know he's got great moves and I just wanted to be patient and let the play come to me. It was nice that I got the result."

The Avalanche (10-13-6) rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit on goals by Jarome Iginla and Ryan O'Reilly, who tied the game with 2:42 remaining.

Nathan MacKinnon, who has gone 11 games without a goal, beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec to the glove side in the first round of the tiebreaker, and Matt Duchene, who scored a second-period goal, followed with a backhand shot by Pavelec's glove.

"It was exciting," said Pickard, who is 4-3-0 in his past seven games with a 1.97 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. "We came back and it would have been nice to win that, and I just wanted to be patient (in the shootout). I know guys like MacKinnon and Duchene have some silky hands, and they made a couple of nice goals there. I just wanted to be patient and make those saves."

The win snapped the Avalanche's losing streak at four games (0-3-1).

The Jets (15-9-6), who took a two-goal lead with 15:28 left in the third period on Mark Scheifele's fourth goal, completed their two-game road trip 1-0-1 and are 5-0-3 in their past eight games.

"We played well to get a 3-1 lead," said Scheifele, who had assists on the Jets' first two goals. "Then we took our foot off the gas in the third period, and they were able to generate chances."

O'Reilly tied the game after Gabriel Landeskog took a shot from the right circle that hit Pavelec's right pad. O'Reilly was driving to the net and he banged in the rebound.

"I had a good bounce and I tapped it in," he said. "It was a relief. We played a great game, worked hard."

The Avalanche drew within 3-2 at 12:55. Alex Tanguay passed to Iginla in the right circle for a shot that appeared to handcuff Pavelec.

The Avalanche outshot the Jets 5-4 in a wide-open overtime. Pickard made a save against Ladd, who scored a second-period power-play goal, skating in alone before he smothered Little's rebound attempt with 2:40 to go.

"I just wanted to be patient," Pickard said. "Our backcheck forced [Ladd] to make a quick shot. I was playing pretty aggressive, and the rebound kind of just lay there. I made a desperation save."

Pavelec made a big save against Duchene with 1:46 left in overtime and finished with 23 for the game.

"Our goalie was phenomenal," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "On that breakaway he made a great save and on the rebound an even better save. It's fun. I'm happy for him. He's competing hard and he deserves to be where he is, and we're certainly proud of him."

Scheifele gave the Jets a 3-1 lead with his first goal in 10 games. After an Avalanche turnover, Perreault left a drop pass for Scheifele, who beat Pickard to the short side.

The Jets used second-period power-play goals from Ladd and Paul Postma to take a 2-1 lead.

Ladd, who has three goals and three assists in three games against the Avalanche this season, swept a loose puck into the net at 1:21 to open the scoring. Pickard deflected Scheifele's shot high in the air with his glove. When the puck landed, Ladd knocked it into the net before Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson could get to it.

The Avalanche tied it at 3:55 on Duchene's team-leading 10th goal. Tanguay carried the puck up ice and passed to Jan Hejda on the left side. Duchene skated to the net and redirected Hejda's pass into a half-open net.

The Jets went ahead at 14:40 when Scheifele passed to Postma, who cruised untouched down the middle and scored into an open net on a power play.

The Jets outshot the Avalanche 16-4 in the period, 11-1 in the final 16:05.

"We dominated the second period where I'd thought the game was won and at 3-1 I thought we were fine," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "They had two really good shots that went in to tie it. I didn't think we let up at the end. It was not an easy game to move the puck. Everybody had a hard time getting a handle on the puck, so a lot of zone times got extended in our end."

The Avalanche went 0-for-4 on power plays and have gone 3-for-30 in the past 11 games.

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