VANCOUVER — Sven Baertschi showed he’s not the only member of the Vancouver Canucks able to pick a corner under pressure.
The Swiss winger rifled his 11th goal of the season shortside over Jonathan Bernier’s glove at 1:07 of overtime Tuesday as Vancouver defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3.
Baertschi and the rest of the Canucks watched from afar this past weekend as rookie teammate Brock Boeser wowed the hockey world with his deadly release during the NHL’s all-star festivities — first by winning Saturday’s accuracy shooting contest before grabbing game MVP honours on Sunday.
Told he looked like Boeser on Tuesday’s picture-perfect winner, Baertschi just smiled.
“I didn’t know I had that in my bag, to be honest,” he said. “In overtime, it can go both ways. But I thought we really deserved it tonight.”
Baertschi saluted to the crowd in celebration after the goal in an homage to the military personnel in attendance at Rogers Arena on a night where the Canucks honoured members of the Canadian Forces.
“Half the time you almost faint after you score it feels like,” said Baertschi. “That’s the first thing that popped in my head.”
Bo Horvat, Michael Del Zotto and Daniel Sedin scored in regulation for Vancouver (20-24-6), while Christopher Tanev added a trio of assists for the first three-point game of his career.
Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 shots for the Canucks, who were coming off a listless 4-0 home loss to Buffalo before the all-star break.
“There’s not a lot of nights this year that I’ve said that I didn’t like our effort,” said Vancouver head coach Travis Green. “But there are the nights where you’re not really happy with your group, and Buffalo was one of those games.
“I liked how our group came out tonight.”
Gabriel Landeskog, with two goals, and J.T. Compher replied for Colorado (27-18-4), which got 22 saves from Bernier in dropping its third straight after winning 10 in a row. Mikko Rantanen added two assists for the Avalanche, who lost leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon to an upper-body injury in the second period.
“I thought our guys battled pretty hard,” said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar. “We got one (point) out of it.”
Trailing 3-2 after allowing three straight goals in the second period, the Canucks tied things up two minutes into the third when Sedin scored his 12th on a 5-on-3 power play while falling to the ice.
The Avalanche nearly went back ahead on a man advantage of their own, but Rantanen hit the post before Sedin also found iron behind Bernier a couple minutes later.
“Not the second period we wanted — couple unfortunate bounces — but it just shows the character we have in this room to come back like that and not get discouraged,” said Horvat. “Danny had a huge goal, and Sven had a heck of a shot in overtime.”
Down 2-0 after the first period, Colorado got on the board at 4:20 of the second when Erik Johnson’s shot deflected off Tanev’s stick in front and changed direction on its way to Markstrom. The Canucks goalie appeared to try to head butt the puck to safety, but Compher was there to tap home his ninth.
Colorado tied the score 2:02 later when Tyson Barrie’s shot from the slot that was stopped by Markstrom bounced off Landeskog and in for his 18th.
Vancouver then failed to connect on consecutive power plays despite a number of chances, and the Avalanche made the hosts pay when Landeskog scored his second of the night on a Colorado man advantage at 15:05.
MacKinnon, who sits second in NHL scoring behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov with 61 points, was hurt shortly thereafter on a hit from Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler. The 22-year-old centre appeared to be favouring his left shoulder on the bench before heading to the locker-room.
“I really don’t know a timeline,” said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar. “I don’t know if it’s day-to-day or not.
“We’ll probably know more (Wednesday).”
The Canucks opened the scoring at 6:36 of the first after the Avalanche turned the puck over at the offensive blue line.
Thomas Vanek poked a pass ahead to Horvat, who raced past Samuel Girard before beating Bernier low to the blocker side for his 11th, and first in four outings since returning from a broken foot that kept sidelined Vancouver’s No. 1 centre for 18 games.
Del Zotto then stretched the Canucks’ lead to 2-0 at 11:45 when his shot from the point through traffic fooled Bernier over the blocker for the defenceman’s third of the campaign.
Notes: Barrie returned to the lineup after missing 13 games with a broken hand. … Vancouver continues a five-game homestand Thursday against Chicago. Colorado visits Edmonton the same night.
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