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Nathan MacKinnon OT goal puts Colorado Avalanche over Florida Panthers

Now the Avalanche head to Amalie Arena for a showdown with the Lightning on Saturday.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates with teammates after he scored in overtime of the team's NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 in Sunrise, Fla. The Avalanche won 5-4. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) [WILFREDO LEE | AP]
Published Oct. 19

SUNRISE — Nathan MacKinnon didn’t let an injury keep him off the ice.

MacKinnon scored 3:03 into overtime to give the Avalanche their sixth victory in seven games this season, 5-4 over the Panthers on Friday night.

MacKinnon played after suffering a leg injury Wednesday night in an overtime loss to the Penguins and missing the morning skate Friday.

“I knew I was going to play the whole day,” MacKinnon said. “It’s great. It just shows the resilience our team has. We’re a very calm group and confident group. Luckily, I finished it in OT.”

MacKinnon’s shot from the high slot and beat Sergei Bobrovsky to the glove side.

Andre Burakovsky scored twice, Joonas Donskoi had a goal and two assists, Matt Nieto also scored and Philipp Grubauer stopped 40 shots for Colorado.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice for Florida, Brett Connolly and Frank Vatrano added goals, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves.

Connolly gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead with 5:55 left in the second period, and Burakovsky tied it 16 seconds later when he banged in a rebound.

“We had a complete first period, turning in the right direction ... and we let off the gas there, pursuing the puck or keeping it,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “We got slow as that period progressed. We scored a big goal, then gave up one simultaneously. That can’t happen.”

Colorado scored twice in 32 seconds midway through the second period to tie it a 3.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare passed from behind the net to Nieto, and Nieto beat Bobrovsky to make it 3-2. Burakovsky’s first goal, a shot from the top of the right circle, tied it with 8:05 left in the period.

“In previous games, we’ve been struggling in the second,” Burakovsky said. “I think we turned that around (Friday), and we were strong in the second and third.”

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the first on goals by Huberdeau and Vatrano.

“Loose. That’s what it was. It was loose. (The Panthers) came out firing on all cylinders,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Early on I didn’t like it, and then the second period starts to come around.”

NOTES: The Avalanche are the only team left without a regulation loss. ... Vatrano scored shorthanded. ... Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov returned after being a healthy scratch Wednesday.

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