DENVER — Ethan Bear scored a tie with 8 minutes remaining and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the injury-plagued Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Sheldon Dries was down by a goal and equalized for Vancouver in front of Bear snapped a shot Pavel Francouz went by in a 4-for-4 just after Colorado’s Cale Makar was called for interference.
Bo Horvat scored his 16th goal for the Canucks in the opener of a three-game trip. Ilya Mikheyev also scored, and Spencer Martin stopped 33 shots in his first game against his former team.
The rousing win came two nights after the Canucks gambled away a two-goal lead in a third-third loss to Vegas.
“Often we hold the sticks too tight when we’re in the lead,” said Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau. “We need some of these.”
Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen scored twice in the first period. He left after hitting a high stick in the face on the second, then returned on the third.
Avs coach Jared Bednar said he was bleeding from his nose and thanked him for his return.
Makar also scored for the Avs, who lost to a lower body injury to Evan Rodrigues late in the first round. Francouz stopped 22 shots.
Colorado had won three times in a row. After a 32-5-4 at home last regular season and winning the Stanley Cup in June, the Avalanche fell to 4-3-1 at Ball Arena.
Rodrigues joined an injury list that also includes eliminated captain Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin.
There was a brief delay with 1:03 to go as fans, already angered by Makar’s disruption, threw debris onto the ice after Colorado took their fifth penalty.
“You can’t have the mentality to worry about the referees because it’s just a difficult game, probably the toughest in the sport,” Makar said.
With the game tied at 2, Tyler Myers rammed his stick into Rantanen’s face in the second one earns a double minor. The Avs ended in a 5-on-3, and Makar took a feed from Nathan MacKinnon (NHL-best 22nd assist) and fired a shot from the left circle with 4:01 left.
But Dries tapped in a loose puck early in the third period to tie it.
It was the seventh consecutive game in which the league’s top powerplay unit scored.
Rodrigues went straight to the dressing room afterwards with a lower body injury falls hard on the ice when he was tied with Kyle Burroughs late in the first.
Colorado got off to a sloppy start after a 3-0 trip.
A turnover behind the net resulted in Elias Pettersson finding one Open Michejew into the slot and his wrist shot in 21 seconds made it 1-0. It was the fastest road goal for Vancouver since Henrik Sedin scored 10 seconds in Colorado on October 24, 2014.
Oskar Olausson, Colorado’s 2021 first-round pick, was called up and made his NHL debut running on the second row with Alex Newhook and Rodrigues. Martin Kaut moved to the fourth row.
Artturi Lehkonen assisted on both of Rantanen’s goals, extending his best-ever scoring streak to eight games. … The Avs also remembered F Jayson Megna. … Avs D Samuel Girard (lower body) returned after six games. … Canucks F Tanner Pearson (hand) skated in the morning but missed his sixth straight game. … The injured Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee surgery) has turned 30.
Canucks: Visit Vegas on Saturday nights.
Avalanche: On Friday in Nashville.
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