DENVER (AP) — Corey Perry is making up for lost time in an injury-delayed season.
Perry scored twice, including the go-ahead goal with 56.9 seconds remaining, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Friday night.
The 33-year-old forward didn’t make his season debut until Feb. 2 because of a knee injury. Ever so gradually, he’s finding his hockey legs.
Perry knocked in the winner shortly after Mikko Rantanen was whistled for a high-sticking penalty. The goal was in typical Perry fashion, too — by crashing the net.
“Starting your season in February is not easy,” said Perry, who scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season. “Guys have been skating for four months, playing games every other day, and I’ve been trying to play catch-up.”
He certainly looked like vintage Perry to teammate Ryan Getzlaf.
“His biggest attribute is his ability to get (to) the net, create havoc and find pucks,” Getzlaf said. “He did that tonight.”
Perry, Getzlaf and Daniel Sprong all scored in the second period as the Ducks erased a 2-0 deficit. Colorado’s Sven Andrighetto tied the game at 3 with 11:18 remaining, setting the stage for Perry. Hampus Lindholm added an empty-netter to seal the victory.
The Ducks were coming off a 6-1 loss in Arizona the night before, but were the more energetic team most of the night.
Anaheim goaltender John Gibson had 14 of his 41 saves in the third period. He’s now 7-2 in his career against Colorado.
A three-day break rejuvenated the Avalanche early as they got goals from Nathan MacKinnon and Rantanen in the first period. Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves.
With 11 games to play, Colorado now trails the Coyotes by five points for the final wild card in the Western Conference.
“There’s still a possibility,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “As long as there are games left we still have a chance. Until we’re mathematically eliminated we have a chance.”
Andrighetto tied the game with his first goal since Feb. 14. After that, Gibson proceeded to make two big saves, one by knocking the puck away from the goal line with his stick and another by stopping Nikita Zadorov on a breakaway.
“The commitment and the urgency we needed earlier in the game, it didn’t look like we had it. Either that or we just didn’t have our legs,” Bednar said. “It did not look like we had our legs tonight. We looked like the tired team.”
Perry started the Ducks rolling in the second period. Just 1:15 later, Getzlaf got into the act. Sprong then knocked in another to give Anaheim the lead and silence the crowd.
The power of a positive mindset.
“We didn’t come in here two-down — we understood we had to change what we were doing, get our compete-level back to where it’s been the last couple of weeks,” said Getzlaf, who had two assists.
The Avalanche used long passes to set up both goals in the first period. On the first, Samuel Girard sent a deep strike to J.T. Compher, who fed it over to MacKinnon for the score. On a power play late in the period, Tyson Barrie lined a lengthy pass to Rantanen, who lifted a backhand shot over Gibson.
Denver native and Anaheim forward Troy Terry had a large contingent of family and friends on hand as he played at Pepsi Center for the first time in his NHL career.
“It’s pretty special for me, to grow up here and now be back and playing against the Avalanche,” said Terry, who also played down the road at the University of Denver.
NOTES: Ducks F Ryan Kesler missed a fifth game with a hip injury. “I have no timeline. I don’t know when he’s coming back,” general manager and interim coach Bob Murray said. … Avalanche F Tyson Jost was taken out to dinner by his teammates to celebrate his 21st birthday on Thursday. … Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog was sidelined a third straight game with an upper-body injury.
Ducks: Start a three-game homestand Sunday against Florida.
Avalanche: Finish a four-game homestand Sunday against New Jersey.
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