When Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic brought Rene Bourque into camp on a professional tryout this summer, he clearly did so knowing he would be a valuable goal scorer, right? (Right?!) Ok, even if he didn’t, that’s what he did tonight, putting the puck through the net not once, but twice, in an exciting 3-2 overtime victory over the Winnipeg Jets—even if the game-winner was a little, uh...unconventional, and really not any of his doing.
The first period was a back-and-forth affair that featured—get this—a fight. Why? Because Cody McLeod was in the lineup and that’s just about all he does. Someone will write tomorrow how this propelled his team to victory, but that’s giving him way too much credit. He took Chris Thornburn off the ice with him and that’s it.
More notable was the second period, where saw rookie sensation Mikko Rantanen be complete badass and score! That’s right, the 20-year-old Fin, on an Avalanche power play, caught an Erik Johnson pass on the right circle, faked a pass into the slot and then dialed up a precision laser-guided snipe over the blocker side of Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson to give his team an early one-goal lead.
Colorado would extend that lead some eight minutes later when Gabriel Landeskog skated into the Winnipeg zone and found Tyson coming across the blue line with some momentum. Speedy No. 4 then proceeded to draw the entire defense over and unleash a beautiful cross-ice pass across the slot to Rene Bourque for the easy tap in to make it 2-0.
Unfortunately, the Jets would then get a couple of lucky breaks to draw the game back to even. The being a Blake Wheeler goal, possible only because teammate Nikolaj Ehlers kept the puck in the zone with a high stick. A good shot nonetheless, one that caught Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov a bit off guard. The second fortuitous event was when Fedor Tyutin decided to whack Chris Thornburn in the face with his stick and give ‘peg a man-advantage. Mark Scheifele, who is off to a torrid start, was left open in front of the net on the ensuing power play by either Erik Johnson or Matt Duchene and ripped a nice setup from the back boards past Varlamov to tie the game at two.
After a scoreless third, the game would be sent to a 3-on-3 overtime that sure caused a few heart attacks from both sides. Nathan MacKinnon nearly scored, hitting the post after a nifty play near the net, and Blake Wheeler, cherry picking on the blue line, had a clear breakaway for the win that was turned away by Varlamov for a huge game-winning save.
After all this highly-skilled play, though, the game winning goal would off the stick of not the victorious Avalanche, but Nikolaj Ehlers trying to center the puck in his own end from the side boards. The last Colorado player to touch the puck was Rene Bourque, so he was credited with the goal.
The Avalanche move to 6-7-0 on the season and will welcome the 6-6-0 Boston Bruins to the Pepsi Center on Sunday, who will be playing in Arizona the night before.
This chart, man!