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Nick Bjugstad scores OT winner, caps off Coyotes 4-3 win over Avalanche

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Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad scores right before overtime concluded to grab a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche at Mullett Arena on Nov. 30.

Continuing their five-game home stand, Arizona were coming off of a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 28.

Additionally, that victory would be the ‘Yotes second in a row as they would look to add to their streak against the red-hot Avalanche.

Before tonight, Colorado were on a four-game winning streak and 7-1 in their last eight.

Like the Coyotes, the Avs’ last game was a victory over the Lightning, but they were able to put up a 4-1 score on Nov. 27.

Leading the Central Division prior to playing Arizona, Colorado had the second-most goals in the Western Conference with 80.

With the Avalanche possessing a high-octane offense, the Coyotes had to defend exceptionally well and maintain their opposition’s speed.

First Period

The game kickstarted with players from both teams speeding across the ice end to end.

Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram would then have to stand tall as Colorado forward Valeri Nichushkin had two opportunities to pounce and score.

As he saw Ingram stopping multiple chances, Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev did the same when Arizona pushed the other way.

In the slot, ‘Yotes defenseman Matt Dumba pinched and was wide-open for a wrist shot, but Georgiev stuck his left leg pad out to make a save.

Ingram and Georgiev were the story for the rest of the period until a Coyote was sent to the penalty box.

With only 1:54 remaining, Arizona left wing Lawson Crouse tripped Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen.

Because of this infraction, Colorado went to the power-play.

Quickly, Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar fired a shot past Ingram to give Colorado a 1-0 lead with just 0:29 left in the first.

Second Period

Following a first-20 minutes of just one goal at the tail end, something ignited both teams during the intermission to get on the board early in the second.

First, Coyotes defenseman Sean Durzi was looking for an outlet.

Finding nobody, Durzi fired the puck from the point and a chaotic sequence began.

Towards the goal, Arizona left wing Liam O’Brien deflected the puck with his stick to change its direction.

However, not only was the puck ricocheted off O’Brien’s stick, but Coyotes center Travis Boyd stood in front of Georgiev before he tipped the piece of rubber.

The puck would flutter over Georgiev’s left pad as Boyd tied the game, 1-1 3:03 into the period.

Then, Colorado took exception to losing their lead and grabbed another only 1:41 later.

Bursting down the right side of the ice, Avalanche left wing Miles Wood powered his way along the boards.

There, Wood would make a quick cut from behind the goal line and maneuver in front of Ingram to make it 2-1 Colorado 4:44 in.

Instantly, Arizona regained the momentum as they found themselves getting closer to a goal.

Keeping up their pressure, Arizona right wing Nick Schmaltz finally answered.

Behind the goal line, ‘Yotes center Alex Kerfoot sent a pass to Schmaltz in the slot, and Schmaltz wired a one-timer past Georgiev to knot the game again, 2-2 with 3:38 remaining.

Towards the end of the period, Georgiev would pull out a stick save on Coyotes left wing Clayton Keller.

Third Period and Overtime

Right out of the second intermission, Crouse curled around two Avalanche defenders, but was denied by Georgiev pulling off the splits.

Moments later, Coyotes left wing Michael Carcone sped around Colorado defenseman Josh Manson.

Beating Manson to the puck in the left corner, Carcone continued to boost behind the Avalanche goal and buried a wrap-around to hand Arizona their first advantage of the hockey game, 3-2 1:08 into the third period.

Almost half-way through the last-20 minutes in regulation, Boyd was crushed towards the boards by Manson.

As a result, O’Brien and Manson dropped the gloves and fought at 10:11.

Because he stuck up for his teammate and started the scrap, O’Brien was given an extra penalty for instigating.

Going on the man-advantage, Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon sniped the puck to the top-right corner of the net and equalized the game once again, 3-3 with 9:56 remaining in regulation.

From then on, Colorado kept threatening and had the majority of the puck possession in the third period, but couldn’t capitalize again as the contest went to overtime.

In extra-time, Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad had a breakaway at 2:24 in OT, but was hooked from behind by Avs defenseman Bowen Byram.

The power-play Arizona received brought a few chances before it ultimately expired.

Seconds after though, Bjugstad shot at Georgiev’s left leg pad before banging home a rebound to win the game 4-3 in overtime for the ‘Yotes.

Postgame Notes

In a hard-fought battle, the Coyotes were able to pull away and record their third-straight win.

This would also be the third game in a row since Ingram took over Arizona’s crease as he stopped 30-of-33 shots tonight.

Furthermore, Carcone’s goal was his 10th of the season, which ties Crouse for the team lead.

On the opposite side, Georgiev saved 27-of-31 attempts by Arizona.

With this outcome, the Coyotes improve to 11-9-2 on the season with 24 points and moves up to fifth in the Central Division.

Next, Arizona host the St. Louis Blues at Mullett Arena on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

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Alec Cipollini is a reporter of the Arizona Coyotes and Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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