April 23rd, 2024

Johansen snaps slump with two goals, Avalanche clip Canucks 3-1

By Pat Graham, The Associated Press on February 20, 2024.

DENVER (AP) – Ryan Johansen broke out of a scoring slump with two goals, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 24 shots and the Colorado Avalanche beat the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Johansen tied the game in the second period and scored the go-ahead goal early in the third for his first goals since Dec. 29. Artturi Lehkonen sealed it with an empty-net goal with 27.6 seconds remaining.

Nathan MacKinnon had an assist on Lehkonen’s goal, giving him at least a point in all 27 home games this season. MacKinnon tied Guy Lafleur (1979-80) for the seventh-longest home-point streak in league history, according to NHL Stats.

J.T. Miller had a goal for a Canucks team that’s dropped three in a row for the first time this season. Vancouver turned in a solid defensive effort, though, in rebounding from a 10-7 loss in Minnesota on Monday.

Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the Canucks.

Johansen sent a long wrist shot toward traffic in front of the net that found its way past Demko for the lead. Soon after, Vancouver nearly tied it up when Elias Pettersson raised his stick to knock in a puck. But it was ruled a high-stick and the goal was disallowed.

Georgiev was at his best in the third period when the Canucks dialed up the pressure.

In the second period, the crowd began chanting “MVP.” It could have been for MacKinnon or even Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, who was sitting in the front row. Both players are the current favourites in their sports to win MVP awards, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Johansen tied the game at 1-1 early in the second period when he knocked in a carom off the backboard.

Fresh off his hat trick Monday, Miller staked the Canucks to a 1-0 lead in the first when he broke free from the Avalanche defence and sent a shot past Georgiev’s glove. Miller has 15 points in 19 career games against the Avalanche.

It was a memorable night for Canucks forward Arshdeep Bains, who made his NHL debut. Born in Surrey, B.C., Bains said before the game it was “every kid’s dream to play for their hometown team.” His father was in attendance.

The Canucks have several former Colorado players on their roster, including defencemen Nikita Zadorov and Ian Cole. Canucks assistant coach Adam Foote was a fan favourite when he was with the Avalanche and helped the team to a pair of Stanley Cup titles. His No. 52 was retired by the team.

UP NEXT

Canucks: Finish a three-game road trip Thursday against the Seattle Kraken.

Avalanche: Visit the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

___

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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