NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Shattenkirk didn’t like being held out of the lineup last Thursday. He came through with a strong effort in his second game back.
The defenseman had assists on both Rangers goals in regulation and then scored the deciding goal in the third round of a shootout to lift New York over the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Tuesday night.
“Last Thursday was a tough pill to swallow, but I think it helped me,” Shattenkirk said. “When you get to sit back and analyze the game a little and realize where you need to be better, it’s important to take that and learn from it.”
Rangers coach David Quinn stressed the benching last week was more about giving Shattenkirk, who injured his knee last January and missed the rest of the season, a mental break.
“When you come back from an injury of that magnitude, you are recovering in two ways — you are recovering physically and you’re recovering mentally,” the first-year coach said. “I really felt it was the mental piece that he needed — take a step back, sit a game, collect his thoughts, get back to practice. He had a better game the other night and a better game tonight.”
Mats Zuccarello, who also had two assists, scored for the Rangers in the first round of the tiebreaker, and Mikko Rantanen tied it in the second. After Shattenkirk beat Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov in the third round, Henrik Lundqvist denied Gabriel Landeskog to secure New York’s second win in six games this season (2-4-0).
Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider scored in regulation for the Rangers, and Lundqvist stopped 31 shots through overtime.
Nathan MacKinnon, who also had an assist, scored for Colorado to set the franchise record with a goal in each of the first six games to open a season. Tyson Jost also had a goal for the Avalanche, and Varlamov finished with 41 saves.
“There are some good things to take out of this,” MacKinnon said. “We did come back, we never gave up, saved the battle and got back in the game.”
MacKinnon was whistled for holding Brady Skjei on a Rangers rush 20 seconds into overtime, putting the Rangers on a 4-on-3 power play. Varlamov gloved a shot by Mika Zibanejad from the left circle about halfway through the advantage and then smothered a hard shot by Jesper Fast in the waning seconds.
Landeskog and MacKinnon each hit a post in the final minute of the extra period.
Both teams had chances in the third, but Lundqvist made 10 saves and Varlamov eight to keep the score tied at 2.
Trailing 1-0 after being outshot 19-7 by the Rangers in the first period, the Avalanche picked up their intensity in the second.
Colorado tied it on a power play at 8:13 of the middle period as Jost tipped a shot by Tyson Barrie from center point for his second of the season.
Hayes then regained the lead for the Rangers just 2:40 later on a one-timer from the right circle for his first.
Lundqvist made a pair of stellar saves with about 30 seconds left in the second, first on a tip by Matt Calvert and then a sprawling pad save of Matt Nieto’s follow on the rebound.
However, the Avalanche tied it 2-all with 12.6 seconds left as MacKinnon tipped Rantanen’s shot from between the circles that first deflected off Landeskog for MacKinnon’s seventh. That broke Mats Sundin’s franchise record set for Quebec in 1992-93. It also extended Rantanen’s streak to at least one assist in Colorado’s first six games.
“That was tough,” Lundqvist said. “It felt like that save was going to make a difference and you go into the third with a lead, and then you give up late like that. It was a challenge, to say the least. I needed a moment in here to gather my thoughts.”
Quinn has been urging his players to shoot more, and they followed his directions from the start.
With the Ranges on the power play, Kreider deflected a shot by Shattenkirk past Varlamov for his third with 7:53 left in the first. The Rangers had a 14-3 advantage on shots at that point.
The goal was New York’s second on the power play in 13 chances this season. It was also the second allowed by Colorado, which was 22 for 23 on the penalty-kill in its first five games.
NOTES: F Marko Dano, acquired off waivers from Winnipeg on Monday, has not joined the Avalanche yet due to immigration issues. ... Rantanen tied Paul Stastny (2008-09) for second on the franchise list for consecutive games with an assist to open a season. Jean-Michael Liles is first with nine in 2010-11. ... The teams conclude their two-game season series on Jan. 4 in Denver. ... Quinn benched RW Pavel Buchnevich in favor of LW Cody McLeod, who played parts of 10 seasons with Colorado.
Avalanche: At New Jersey on Thursday night in the second game of a four-game trip.