Rangers stun Avalanche with Lafreniere’s overtime goal

The New York Rangers pulled off a thrilling comeback against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, thanks to a spectacular goal by Alexis Lafreniere in overtime. The Rangers erased a one-goal deficit in the third period and secured a 2-1 victory over the Central Division leaders.

Lafreniere shines in OT

The game-winning goal came at 1:53 of the extra period, when Lafreniere received a pass from Mika Zibanejad and fired a shot past Alexandar Georgiev, the former Rangers goalie who was traded to the Avalanche last month. Lafreniere, the first overall pick of the 2020 draft, celebrated his 13th goal of the season and his second in overtime.

Lafreniere has been on a hot streak lately, scoring six goals in his last nine games. He has also shown great chemistry with Zibanejad, who assisted on both of his overtime goals. The duo has combined for 23 points in their last 10 games.

Panarin ties the game in the third

The Rangers had to overcome a strong performance by Georgiev, who made 27 saves against his former team. Georgiev was especially sharp in the third period, when he denied several scoring chances by the Rangers, including a point-blank shot by Zibanejad and a blast from Adam Fox.

Rangers stun Avalanche

However, he could not stop Artemi Panarin, who scored his team-leading 31st goal at 11:17 of the third to tie the game at 1-1. Panarin took a pass from Fox and snapped a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Georgiev on the glove side. Panarin has been one of the most productive players in the NHL, ranking third in points with 84.

MacKinnon opens the scoring in the first

The Avalanche took the lead late in the first period, when Nathan MacKinnon scored his team-leading 32nd goal with 1:48 left. MacKinnon took a pass from Cale Makar and unleashed a powerful slap shot from the right circle that went past Jonathan Quick, who was screened by Mikko Rantanen.

MacKinnon has been on a tear this season, leading the NHL in points with 85. He has points in 14 straight games and in 33 of his last 34 games overall. He also has 305 points in 283 career games, two shy of tying Tyson Barrie as the highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history.

Quick makes 31 saves for the win

Quick was the other hero for the Rangers, as he made 31 saves to earn his 18th win of the season. Quick was especially busy in the second period, when he faced 15 shots and kept the Avalanche off the scoreboard. He also made some key stops in the third period and overtime, including a save on MacKinnon midway through the third and a save on Rantanen with less than a minute left in regulation.

Quick has been a reliable presence in the Rangers’ net, posting a 2.42 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He has also been a mentor for Igor Shesterkin, the young goalie who has emerged as the future of the franchise.

Rangers extend their lead in the Metropolitan Division

The win was the second in a row for the Rangers, who improved their record to 36-15-5 and extended their lead in the Metropolitan Division to six points over the Washington Capitals. The Rangers have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL, winning 11 of their last 13 games and scoring 54 goals in that span.

The Avalanche, meanwhile, suffered their first loss in four games and fell to 34-14-7. They remain atop the Central Division, but their lead over the St. Louis Blues has shrunk to four points. The Avalanche have been one of the best road teams in the NHL, going 19-8-3 away from home.

The Rangers and the Avalanche will meet again on March 4 in Denver, in what could be a potential Stanley Cup Final preview.

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