Avalanche players loom Mikko Rantanen in the center after he scored the game against Flames on Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Andy Cross / The Denver Post)
DENVER – Mikko Rantanen scored a 10:23 kick in overtime after equalizing the game with a late goal and the Colorado Avalanche rebounded from a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night. the best series of the seven teams.
Moments after a penalty, Carl Soderberg got the puck and sent a pass to Rantanen, who passed by Mike Smith before being surrounded by teammates.
Colorado lost 2-0 in the third period, with J.T. Compher starting to return on a rebound and Rantanen tying him in a power goal with 2:50 left.
Elias Lindholm and Derek Ryan had targets for the Flames, the main seed in the West. They face a scenario of mandatory wins when the series returns to Calgary for Game 5 on Friday. The flames are trying to avoid a similar fate as Tampa Bay, the No. 1 seed in the East, who lost to Columbus in the first round.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 35 shots, including one in the OT with his left pad while sprawled on the ice.
Smith had another night busy stopping 49 of 52 shots. He faced 56 in the 6-2 loss in Game 3.
Smith, 37, appeared to kick his leg when Avalanche striker Colin Wilson fell for him in the first period. Smith was briefly checked before settling into a groove.
Grubauer had the highest defense of the night at the start of the overtime while on the ice and Mikael Backlund with the disc in his stick down. Grubauer waited a moment, then lifted the left cushion slightly just as Backlund fired. The disk struck the middle of Grubauer's block.
Compher had a break in overtime and Smith bet out of the net to challenge him. Compher skirted Smith, just to send the disk wide. Later, Colorado suffered a penalty in Ian Cole for a delay after sending the disc out of the game.
Calgary was apparently in control after Ryan extended the lead to 2-0 with 13:02 remaining after rebounding in a rebound. A little more than a minute later, Compher sent a kick through Smith after a run in front of the net. Then Rantanen swung to tie him. The Avalanche had the chance to win in regulation when the Flames had a delay in the game penalty but failed to capitalize.
Lindholm scored his first goal of the series at 3:25 of the second period. His goal came just six seconds after Erik Johnson had scored a penalty. Flames have at least one power goal in all four competitions.
Shortly after Lindholm's goal, Smith dunked his left arm in a shot by Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. And soon after that, Landeskog kicked a kick from the post.
Smith resisted a series of shots in the first period – another accident with Wilson, who eliminated and skidded Smith. The two ended up on the ice as coaches went out to check on Smith.
This certainly caught the attention of the Colorado: Columbus surprised Tampa Bay in a series of the first round of the Eastern Conference. The Avs are hoping to follow the example against the flames.
"That does not happen often," Rantanen. "In NHL, this can happen, the differences are not huge."
Flames D Juuso Valimaki played in his first game of the series. … Avs F Derick Brassard (disease) and D Samuel Girard (upper body) were scratches. … Cale Makar, newly hired Avalanche, Cale Makar, grew up as a big fan of Flames. But now that he's playing against them, he's getting a lot of nervous welcome. "Everyone has been so supportive," he said.
Back to Calgary for Game 5 on Friday.