NEW YORK — Alexis Lafreniere scored 1:53 into overtime and the New York Rangers rallied to beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Monday night.
Artemi Panarin also scored and Jonathan Quick stopped 31 shots to help the Rangers get their second straight win and their 15th comeback win this season.
Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche, who had won three straight. Alexandar Georgiev finished with 27 saves against his former team.
In the extra period, Mika Zibanejad dropped the puck to Lafreniere, who then whipped a shot past Georgiev for his 13th goal of the season and third overtime winner of his career.
“Luckily it went in, so that was good,” Lafreniere said. ”That was big win against a really good team. We wanted to play better defense, and I think we did a really good job.”
The Central Division-leading Avalanche, starting a season-high six-game trip, are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games and 5-2-1 in their last eight on the road.
MacKinnon got his team-leading 32nd goal with 1:48 left in the opening period, firing the puck past Quick to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
Cale Makar and Josh Manson had assists on the play, giving Colorado a league-best 155 points from its defensemen. Makar has 305 points in 283 career games, two shy of tying Tyson Barrie as highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history.
MacKinnon has points in 14 straight games and in 33 of his last 34 games overall. The 28-year-old forward is tied with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov with an NHL-leading 85 points.
After Georgiev frustrated the Rangers for more than 50 minutes, Panarin scored his team-leading 31st at 11:17 of the third to tie it. The Rangers outshot the Avalanche 12-6 in the third period.
“I think they had more jump as the game went on,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. ”We just didn’t do enough to secure the win.”
Both goalies were sharp throughout the tight contest.
Georgiev, who played parts of five seasons for the Rangers as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup, made a sliding pad save on Vincent Trocheck’s one-timer at 3:40 of the third and stopped a point-blank blast from Zibanejad just over eight minutes into the period. He also stopped Adam Fox with 1 second left in regulation.
“I’m trying to see the big picture and those are big points for us,” Georgiev said. ”It’s an awesome building with a great atmosphere. Some good memories here, and I’m trying to make some new ones.”
Quick denied MacKinnon midway through the third to keep it a one-goal game at the time. He also stopped Mikko Rantanen from in front with just under a minute left in regulation.
“They are a great team. A lot of the credit goes to way we played defensively,″ Quick said. ”We kept the majority of their chances to the outside.”
The 38-year-old Quick improved to 11-4-2 as Igor Shesterkin’s backup in his first season with the Rangers. The victory was the 371st of his career.
“He’s given us really quality games,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said of Quick’s contribution. “Every day he comes to the rink, he’s ready to play. You’re appreciative of everything he does.”
The first-place Rangers were coming off 7-2 win at Ottawa on Jan. 27 before the extended break around the All-Star game.
Rangers captain Jacob Trouba served the second game of a two-game suspension assessed for elbowing Golden Knights forward Pavel Dorofeyev on Jan. 26.
Zach Parise made his Avalanche debut. The 39-year-old forward signed with Colorado on Jan. 26 after playing the previous two seasons for the Islanders.
”Conditioning-wise, I felt way better than I thought I would,” said Parise, who played on a line with Ryan Johansen and Artturi Lehkonen.
With the victory, Laviolette passed Al Arbour for seventh place all-time with his 783rd coaching win.
“It was a really exciting consistent win by our guys,” Laviolette said. “Our guys just stuck with it.”
Avalanche: At New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Rangers: Host Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL