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game recap

Avalanche break wild-card tie, prevent Golden Knights from clinching

Colorado moves into second spot in West, Vegas fails to gain in Pacific

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

Barrie scores milestone goal

VGK@COL: Barrie tallies to set franchise record

Tyson Barrie buries a quick wrister from the point for the Avalanche, giving him the most goals by a defenseman in franchise history with 73

  • 00:57 •

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche broke a tie for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 4-3 win against the Vegas Golden Knights at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

Tyson Barrie had one goal and two assists for the Avalanche (35-29-13), who moved two points ahead of the Arizona Coyotes heading into their game Friday. Philipp Grubauer made 34 saves for Colorado, which is three points behind the Dallas Stars for the first wild card.

"That's a big win," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "That puts pressure back on the teams that are underneath us. Friday, regardless of if we won or lost tonight, that's a big game, a huge game. If we can win that game we put ourselves in a good spot."

 

[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

Alex Tuch and Paul Stastny each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (42-29-6), who failed to clinch a berth in the playoffs. They remained third in the Pacific Division, five points behind the second-place San Jose Sharks. Vegas has lost three straight games (0-2-1).

"We should be battling from the first shift," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. "That's where we lost the game. We lost the game in the first period because we didn't compete and didn't battle and got outskated."

Matt Calvert gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 5:39 of the first period. Tyson Jost beat Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore in a race for the puck behind the Vegas net and passed through the slot to Calvert.

Nathan MacKinnon's power-play goal made it 2-0 at 8:37. Barrie passed to MacKinnon, who spun around in the left circle and shot glove side. 

Video: VGK@COL: MacKinnon nets PPG through screen

"You want to give the team a chance to win but it's tough to play from behind," Golden Knights goalie Malcolm Subban said. "It's not easy to come back in this league, it's tough."

Colorado increased its lead to 3-0 at 7:18 of the second period when Barrie moved to the high slot and scored after Carl Soderberg won a face-off in the left circle.

"Tyson's goal is off a face-off, he doesn't like his shot right away but he drives his feet and gets it to the net where there's bodies and traffic," Bednar said. "He's scored quite a few goals like that recently."

The Golden Knights cut it to 3-1 at 10:57 when Stastny flipped the puck in from the left side of the net.

Reilly Smith made it 3-2 at 14:47 when he took a pass from William Karlsson through the goalmouth for a tap into a half-open net.

Video: VGK@COL: Karlsson dishes to Smith for tap-in goal

Gabriel Bourque's shot from the left circle, his second goal in 50 games this season, gave the Avalanche a 4-2 lead at 17:10.

"At first I tried to look for a pass and everybody was open so I just tried to shoot high blocker and it went in," said Bourque, whose other goal was into an empty net March 9 against the Buffalo Sabres. "I don't think anyone is counting on me to score goals but I work every night to try and get one. Today it finally happened, so it's nice."

Tuch converted the rebound of Mark Stone's point shot at 16:37 to bring the Golden Knights within 4-3, and they had a power play for the final 7.6 seconds after MacKinnon was assessed a holding-the-stick penalty.

"Obviously we made it interesting there," Barrie said. "They're a good team and they've been playing really well lately so it's not a surprise they were going to give us a push at the end. We showed a lot of character to kind of grind that one out."

 

They said it

"We left [Malcolm Subban] hanging too many times. He's been really good for us lately but he's not going to stop a guy coming down the slot with no one on him every time. He bailed us out a couple times tonight and we weren't able to capitalize on all our opportunities. Going forward, especially playing a team on the road, a team that's this desperate and playing playoff hockey right now, we have to have better starts." -- Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch

"It's a huge two points for us. We know we needed this one and we have another huge one against Arizona on Friday. It's a quick turnaround. We've just got to put this one behind us, watch some video and move on." -- Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie

 

Need to know

Barrie has 73 goals and passed Sandis Ozolinsh for the most by a defenseman in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history. Barrie also has the most assists (231) and points (304). … The win was Bednar's 100th in the NHL. He is 100-115-26 in three seasons, all with Colorado. … Grubauer has an NHL career-high 16 wins and is 5-0-1 in his past six starts. … Avalanche forward Matt Nieto played 15:37 in his return after missing 15 games with a foot injury. … Smith has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past six games. … Karlsson has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past six.

 

What's next

Golden Knights: Host the Minnesota Wild on Friday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-RM, FS-N+, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: Host the Coyotes on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT2, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)

Video: Barrie, MacKinnon lead Avs past Golden Knights

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