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Tufte scores go-ahead goal in 3rd to help Avalanche beat Canucks 5-2

Big winger called up from minors earlier in the day
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Ian Cole, front, works for the puck against Colorado Avalanche centre Fredrik Olofsson during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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.

It was Tufte’s first goal with the Avalanche, who recalled him from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL.

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 defenseman 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 centering pass through traffic to Nichushkin, who wristed a shot from the crease over goalie Thatcher Demko’s stick.

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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.


Dennis Georgatos, The Associated Press