OTTAWA, Ontario — Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists, Lars Eller scored a strange deciding goal and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.
Colorado defenseman Cale Makar had a goal and an assist, and Lars Eller, Valeri Nichushkin and Evan Rodrigues also scored. Nathan MacKinnon had three assists, and Jonas Johansson stopped 31 shots.
“They started to bring it to us a little bit in the third, but I thought we defended well,” Rodrigues said. “Big faceoffs at the end, and a huge save from (Johansson) at the end. We got the two points. That’s what we wanted.”
Drake Batherson, Shane Pinto, Travis Hamonic and Brady Tkachuk scored for Ottawa, Tim Stutzle had three assists and Mads Sogaard made 25 saves. The Senators have lost four in a row.
“We left it all out there. It’s frustrating because you want to get rewarded for all the hard work,” Tkachuk said. “I though it was huge character displayed by this group with all the adversity we faced being down three going into the third, just to give us a chance, it’s disappointing.”
The Avalanche scored three times in the second period, including Eller’s odd goal, to take a 5-2 lead.
After Rantanen gave the Avalanche a 3-1 lead at 4:23, Pinto drew the Senators back within a goal eight minutes into the period. Rodrigues gave the Avalanche a 4-2 lead with 4:43 to go, and then the weirdness happened.
On what the Senators appeared to think was icing against the Avalanche, the puck bounced off the end boards and was in the corner of the crease by Sogaard’s pad. With Senators’ defenseman Jake Sanderson standing next to his netminder, no whistle came to end the play. After a couple of seconds, Eller skated in and jammed the puck past a confused group of Senators with 1:51 left.
After a lengthy review on a goaltender interference challenge from Senators coach DJ Smith, the goal stood.
Hamonic scored at 2:52 of the third period and Tkachuk scored on the power play at 13:18 to pull the Senators within a goal.
Another Avalanche injury? Avs’ sharp defense unaffected, even against talented Maple Leafs: “We’re just kind of used to it now”
Avs beat Maple Leafs in shootout in Toronto after riveting test of defenses
Avalanche’s Bo Byram isn’t worried about concussion history when he drops the gloves: “That’s behind me”
Artturi Lehkonen breaks finger in return to Montreal, will require surgery after Avalanche’s 8-4 win over Canadiens
While Gabriel Landeskog remains injured, an Avalanche position battle unfolds before playoffs at second-line left wing
“As a whole probably 95% of the time if your team plays that hard you’re going to win. That wasn’t the case today,” Smith said.
Avalanche: At Detroit on Saturday.
Senators: Host Toronto on Saturday night.
Want more Avalanche news? Sign up for the Avalanche Insider to get all our NHL analysis.