Riley Tufte, called up from the minors earlier in the day, scored the go-ahead goal 24 seconds into the third period and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Cale Makar added a goal later in the third on a breakaway, and Mikko Rantanen scored into an empty net. Valeri Nichushkin and Jonathan Drouin also had goals for the Avalanche. Alexandar Georgiev made 27 saves.
J.T. Miller and Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks.
“We had a nice effort from a lot of guys tonight throughout our lineup,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I thought we were here to play tonight, no question.”
It was Tufte’s first goal with the Avalanche, who recalled him from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. Miles Wood took a shot from the top of the left circle that glanced in off the upper right leg of Tufte, who was positioned in front.
“What I was trying to do was get in front, get in the goalie’s eyes,” Tufte said. “Woodie shot it and it hit something on my pants. I was just trying to have a good net presence there and it hit me and it went in. I was kind of banging around for the rebound there but it already went in. But you know, I’m glad I was able to help and get one there.” The Avalanche added two more goals later in the period to seal the win.
“I think we played alright,” Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes said. “We did some good things tonight, but I think they capitalized a little bit more on their looks in the third. We had our looks as well, but sometimes you’re just going to lose a close game. That’s what happened.”
There was a scary moment late in the second when Vancouver’s Mark Friedman collided with Nichushkin as the two battled for position in front of the Canucks net. Friedman lost his footing and fell headfirst to the ice, briefly laying motionless before being tended to and heading to the bench. There was a visible cut on his forehead.
Vancouver tied it 2-all at 9:04 of the second as Miller, with defenceman Devon Toews draped all over him, muscled in a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle that snuck into the upper corner of the net.
The Avalanche scored twice in little more than a minute to move in front 2-1 late in the first. Colorado was on the power play when it got an equalizer from Nichushkin, who extended his goal streak to five games at 17:37. Rantanen got a centring pass through traffic to Nichushkin, who wristed a shot from the crease over goalie Thatcher Demko’s stick.
Just 66 seconds later, Makar launched a slap shot from the point that Drouin tipped in from up close.
Vancouver struck first on Hoglander’s sixth goal at 16:23 of the first. He wristed in a rebound that trickled out in front of the net after Georgiev stopped a shot from Anthony Beauvillier.
Canucks: Play at Seattle on Friday night.
Avalanche: Play at Minnesota on Friday night.