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Johansen snaps out of scoring slump as Colorado Avalanche beat Vancouver Canucks 3-1

Johansen snaps out of scoring slump as Colorado Avalanche beat Vancouver Canucks 3-1
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Ryan Johansen scored one goal after a fortuitous bounce off the boards in back of the net and another that glanced off another player.

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These days, he will take them any way they want to go in.

Johansen broke out of a scoring slump with two goals, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 24 shots and the Colorado Avalanche beat the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Tuesday night.

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Johansen tied the game in the second period and scored the go-ahead goal early in the third for his first goals since Dec. 29.

“Oh, it feels great,” Johansen said of finding the net again courtesy of some puck luck. “It reminds you, I guess, you’ve got to stick with it. … Hopefully I can get some swagger from that and keep helping the group.”

Artturi Lehkonen sealed it with an empty-net goal with 27.6 seconds remaining. Nathan MacKinnon had an assist on Lehkonen’s goal, giving him at least a point in all 27 home games this season. MacKinnon tied Guy Lafleur (1979-80) for the seventh-longest home-point streak in league history, according to NHL Stats.

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J.T. Miller had a goal for a Canucks team that’s dropped three in a row for the first time this season. Vancouver turned in a solid defensive effort, though, in rebounding from a 10-7 loss in Minnesota on Monday.


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Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the Canucks.

On his winner, Johansen sent a long wrist shot toward traffic in front of the net and it appeared to glance off defenceman Ian Cole before going in. Soon after, Vancouver nearly tied it up on a tipped-in shot. But it was ruled a high-stick and the goal was disallowed.

Georgiev was at his best in the third period when the Canucks dialed up the pressure. Vancouver was generating quality chances late in the game, before the momentum was disrupted by a tripping call on Cole.

“Sucks getting that penalty at the end,” Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said. “I thought we were coming. Not sure that was a good penalty.”

Tocchet said before the game he was eager to see how his team dealt with a little bit of adversity. He was pleased with the bounceback performance after Vancouver’s defence allowed six goals in a 5:45 stretch against the Wild.

“I thought we played a good game, probably deserved better,” Tocchet said. “But they made the plays at the end.”

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In the second period, the crowd began chanting “MVP.” It could have been for MacKinnon or even Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, who was sitting in the front row. Both players are the current favourites in their sports to win MVP awards, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Johansen tied the game at 1-all early in the second period when he knocked in a carom off the backboard.

“There’s just a little bit more competitive spirit in (Johansen’s) game here recently,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, whose team has won six straight home games.

Fresh off his hat trick Monday, Miller staked the Canucks to a 1-0 lead in the first when he broke free from the Avalanche defence and sent a shot past Georgiev’s glove.

It was a memorable night for Canucks forward Arshdeep Bains, who made his NHL debut. Born in Surrey, B.C., Bains said before the game it was “every kid’s dream to play for their hometown team.” His father was in attendance.

“First stepping out there, it just feels like a dream,” Bains said. “And then when you get into your first shift and throughout the game, it’s just like another hockey game. It was really cool.”

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