TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes didn’t score on the overtime power play that Nick Bjugstad created, but he was credited with the game-winner just seconds after it ended.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar appeared to accidentally put the puck in his own net, as it slipped between goalie Alexandar Georgiev’s legs during a scramble just as the 4-on-3 power play expired, and the Coyotes prevailed 4-3 at Mullett Arena.
Bjugstad made a strong move to the net and Georgiev made the initial save. When Makar tried to sweep the loose puck out of danger, Bjugstad’s stick made contact with his and the end result was a Coyotes victory.
“I was just trying to take a shot away,” Makar said. “It’s unfortunate. I think he pushed my stick, or it just hit my stick and popped through. Just really unlucky and unfortunate.”
The Coyotes had a power play in the extra session because Bjugstad got behind Bowen Byram, and the defenseman slashed him to prevent a mini-breakaway scoring chance.
Another positive night from the power play helped the Avalanche get to overtime for the second time this season after falling behind early in the third period.
The Avs had scored in eight straight games on the power play coming into this contest, but Colorado had struck more than once with the man advantage only twice this season. Nathan MacKinnon made it three times with a one-time blast at 11:04 of the third period to tie this game at 3-3.
“That power play in particular was our best of the night,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “It was the hardest-working power play we had. The firmness in our passes, the puck movement, identifying the open man … there’s a lot that I liked on that. I want our power play on a regular basis to look like that.”
After a slow start to the season, the Avs’ power play is now 11 for 40 (27.5%) in the past nine games. This was also the ninth-straight game that Colorado has won the special teams battle, a streak that began after the Avs allowed four special-teams goals (two power play, two shorthanded) in an 8-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Given how consistently strong the Avalanche has been at even strength over the past several seasons, opposing teams know that not outscoring the Avs on special teams is going to significantly reduce their chances.
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