RECAP: Valeri Nichushkin scores twice, including OT, as Avs edge Ducks

Mar 5, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) battles for the puck against Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard (49) and goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Valeri Nichushkin scored at 2:45 of overtime, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in Denver on Friday night.

Nichushkin finished with two goals, Brandon Saad had a goal and two assists and Philipp Grubauer stopped 26 shots for the Avalanche.

Colorado played without star center Nathan MacKinnon, who was cleared to go after the morning skate but was held out of the lineup. MacKinnon took a hit to the head at San Jose on Wednesday night.

Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg scored goals and John Gibson had 31 saves for the Ducks.

The teams traded chanced in the extra period until Nichushkin won it for the Avalanche. He got the puck entering the Anaheim zone, skated behind the defense and slid a shot through Gibson. It was his fourth of the season.

Anaheim took the lead with a goal late in the first period. Rickard Rakell had the puck behind the Colorado net and fed Henrique in the slot. Henrique’s wrister beat Grubauer at 19:50 to put the Ducks ahead at the intermission. It was his fifth of the season.

Silfverberg made it 2-0 early in the second when he stole the puck in the Avalanche zone, skated down the right side and beat Grubauer with a shot to the top corner on the short side at 2:22. It was also his fifth of the season.

Colorado had chances early in the second period, including Nichushkin hitting both posts on a shot, before finally breaking through.

Saad kept the puck in the Anaheim zone, and Joonas Donskoi picked it up. He feathered a pass to the front of the net, where Nichushkin swept it through Gibson at 14:46 to put the Avalanche on the board.

Colorado wasted little time in getting even. Tyson Jost sent a sharp-angled backhander at Gibson, and Saad poked in the loose puck in the crease at 17:23 of the second. It was his seventh of the year.

–Field Level Media