Down but never out.
It was the second time in a week that the Ducks fought back to win a game where they trailed by two in the third, repeating the feat from March 25’s 5-4 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers.
It’s also the Ducks’ third overtime win in their last four games.
Ondrej Kase played the hero 1:34 into sudden death — Kase skated in on a 2-on-1 with Josh Manson, cut around Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard, and lifted the puck over goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s shoulder and under the crossbar for the winner.
With the win, the Ducks leapfrog the Los Angeles Kings to slide into third place in the Pacific Division with 95 points (41-25-13). The Kings fall to the top Wild Card position with 94 points, while Colorado’s one-point effort gives them the second Wild Card spot with 93 points.
Anaheim’s win eliminated the Dallas Stars from playoff contention.
It was an odd start to the game for the Ducks, who were tossed from three or four face-offs in the opening minutes alone. One in particular proved costly — Ryan Getzlaf was thrown out from a draw in the Ducks’ zone and Rickard Rakell took his spot. Rakell won the face-off toward the middle of the ice, but the puck bounced off Corey Perry’s skate and past goalie John Gibson for a 1-0 Avalanche lead 1:16 into the game.
Colorado’s lead lasted all of 4:52 as Andrew Cogliano accepted an area pass from Jakob Silfverberg and skated in on a breakaway. Cogliano outwaited Bernier and lifted the puck past the outstretched goalie to tie the score 1-1.
It was a frustrating second period for the Ducks — with Ryan Miller replacing an injured Gibson to start the period, the Avalanche scored two goals (including one on the power play) to put the Ducks in a precarious 3-1 disadvantage entering the third.
But Anaheim, suddenly regaining it’s “Comeback Kids” mantra from season’s passed, was far from done.
It was Adam Henrique’s 23rd goal of the season that brought the Ducks within a goal 7:43 into the third period on a beautiful pass from Perry. Perry controlled the puck and retreated behind the Colorado net, then dished a pass to Henrique against the grain and his shot bounced off the back of a surprised Bernier and in.
Less than two minutes later, the Ducks tied it — Cogliano whipped a shot on net from the corner and Bernier popped out a rebound right toward the middle of the ice. The loose puck was gathered by Ryan Kesler, who picked the top left corner to tie the score 3-3 and set up Kase’s winner in overtime.
Cogliano (one goal, one assist) and Silfverberg (two assists) each finished with two points for the Ducks, while Miller earned the win in relief with 19 saves on 21 shots.
Anaheim will continue its push to the playoffs at home against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday. That game is slated for 7 p.m. PST.