DENVER (AP) — Ethan Bear snapped a tie with 8 minutes to go, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the injury-plagued Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Trailing by a goal entering the third, Sheldon Dries tied it for Vancouver before Bear ripped a shot past Pavel Francouz on a 4-on-4 moments after Colorado’s Cale Makar was called for interference.
Bo Horvat scored his 16th goal for the Canucks in the opener of a three-game trip. Ilya Mikheyev also scored, and Spencer Martin stopped 33 shots in his first game against his former team.
The stirring victory came two nights after the Canucks blew a two-goal lead in the third period in a loss to Vegas.
”A lot of times we hold the sticks too tight when we do get the lead,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”We need a couple of these.”
Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen scored twice in the first period. He left after taking a high stick to the face in the second and then returned in the third.
Avs coach Jared Bednar said he was bleeding from the nose and gave him kudos for returning.
Makar also scored for the Avs, who lost Evan Rodrigues to a lower-body injury late in the first. Francouz stopped 22 shots.
Colorado had won three straight. After going 32-5-4 at home last regular season and winning the Stanley Cup in June, the Avalanche fell to 4-3-1 at Ball Arena.
Rodrigues joined an injured list that includes sidelined captain Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin.
There was a brief delay with 1:03 to go when fans, already upset with the Makar interference call, threw debris on the ice after Colorado took its fifth penalty.
”You can’t have the mentality of worrying about the refs because it’s just a tough game to call, probably the toughest in sports,” Makar said.
With the game tied at 2, Tyler Myers jammed his stick into Rantanen’s face in the second, earning a double minor. The Avs ended up with a 5-on-3, and Makar took a feed from Nathan MacKinnon (NHL-best 22nd assist) and blistered a shot from the left circle with 4:01 left.
But Dries knocked in a loose puck early in the third period to tie it.
Rantanen poked in a feed from Devon Toews to make it 1-1 midway through the first period. He got his 13th goal by knocking home a rebound with Dakota Joshua in the box for high-sticking at 17:44.
It marked the seventh straight game the league’s best power-play unit scored.
Rodrigues went straight to the dressing room with a lower-body injury after tumbling hard to the ice when he got tied up with Kyle Burroughs late in the first.
Colorado, coming off a 3-0 trip, got off to a sloppy start.
A turnover behind the net led to Elias Pettersson finding an open Mikheyev in the slot, and his wrist shot 21 seconds in made it 1-0. It was the fastest road goal for Vancouver since Henrik Sedin scored 10 seconds in at Colorado on Oct. 24, 2014.
Oskar Olausson, Colorado’s 2021 first-round pick, was called up and made his NHL debut, skating on the second line with Alex Newhook and Rodrigues. Martin Kaut moved to the fourth line.
Artturi Lehkonen assisted on both Rantanen goals, extending extend his career-best point streak to eight games. … The Avs also recalled F Jayson Megna. … Avs D Samuel Girard (lower body) returned after a six-game absence. … Canucks F Tanner Pearson (hand) skated in the morning but missed his sixth straight game. … Injured Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee surgery) turned 30.
Canucks: Visit Vegas on Saturday night.
Avalanche: At Nashville on Friday.