DENVER (AP) — Rickard Rakell didn’t need a clock to tell him how much time remained as he skated up the ice.
He had his Anaheim teammates on the bench counting down the seconds.
Rakell scored with 1.2 seconds remaining in overtime, Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots and the Ducks snapped the Colorado Avalanche’s seven-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory Wednesday night.
“The whole bench was literally an orchestra of ‘6 … 5 …’ they were counting it down for him, ”Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “The communication there obviously helped. But with Raks, he’s a smart shooter. He’s going to get that D-man close to him.”
Rakell’s shot appeared to deflect off the stick of Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard and past goaltender Pavel Francouz. It was Rakell’s first goal since Jan. 31.
“I just tried to do something quick there and get a shot off,” Rakell explained. “It was nice to see it go in.”
Sam Steel, Andrew Agozzino and Brendan Guhle also added goals to accomplish a rare feat these days — finding space between the pads of Francouz, who’s been one of the top goaltenders in the league.
Despite losing 6-2 in Chicago the night earlier, Anaheim kept up with the speedy Avalanche. The 39-year-old Miller earned career NHL win No. 386 to move by Mike Vernon and into sole possession of 15th place. Miller also matched Tom Barrasso (777) for second place on the NHL’s all-time games played list among U.S.-born goaltenders, the team said.
In addition, Miller eclipsed Barrasso (755) for second on the league’s all-time games started list for U.S.-born goalies.
“A great night for him, for our team,” Eakins said. “He’s just been a wonder to have with our group. He brings such leadership and a calmness. He’s almost like a second coach.”
Girard had a breakaway in overtime, only to be stopped by Miller. It wasn’t a happy 25th birthday for Valeri Nichushkin, who clanged two shots off the post, including one in OT.
Nathan MacKinnon scored his first goal in eight games on a laser shot to tie it at 3 with 12:41 remaining.
Vladislav Namestnikov and captain Gabriel Landeskog, who wore a bandage on his broken nose, had goals for an Avalanche team that picked up a point to pull to within two points of St. Louis for the top seed in the Western Conference. Landeskog also added two assists.
“I thought we should have won this one, but you let them hang around and you don’t capitalize on your chances you end up with one point,” Landeskog said.
It was terse third period with two fights resulting in four roughing penalties.
On Monday, Francouz was named the NHL’s third star for the week after going 3-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average. The week prior, he was first star for his stellar play, which included a 1-0 win over the Ducks on Feb. 21.
The opening period featured four goals and some fisticuffs.
On the goal front, Agozzino, who was claimed on waivers by Anaheim last month, knocked in his second career score. His other tally was on Feb. 18, 2019, against Vegas when he was with Colorado.
The fight was a weight-division mismatch as the 219-pound Nicolas Deslauriers squared off against the 198-pound Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Both landed a few punches before being separated. Bellemare retreated to the dressing room with what appeared to be a cut. They were each given 5-minute majors for fighting.
The Avalanche amassed their winning streak despite missing Matt Calvert, Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen, along with goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
They’re also currently without defenseman Cale Makar and forward Andre Burakovsky.
Colorado will play 16 games in March, which matches a franchise record for most contests in a particular month. Landeskog appreciates the hectic schedule.
“You get in a rhythm of playing every other night and in between games it’s a recovery day and get what you need,” Landeskog explained.
NOTES: Anaheim D Jani Hakanpaa made his NHL debut. … D Hampus Lindholm missed his fourth straight game with an upper-upper-body injury. D Cam Fowler was out an eighth game with a lower-body ailment. … Rantanen skated in a red non-contact jersey Wednesday.
Ducks: Host Toronto on Friday.
Avalanche: Start a three-game trip Friday in Vancouver.
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