O'Connor's late goal lifts Avs over Ducks 4-2

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DENVER (AP) — Logan O’Connor scored a tiebreaking goal late in the third period and the Colorado Avalanche rallied from two goals down past the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Sunday.

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists and Darcy Kuemper had 29 saves for the Avalanche, who were playing their first game in nearly three weeks.

Colorado had not played since a 5-2 loss at Nashville on Dec. 16 due to COVID-19 cases on the team. Eleven players tested positive for the virus since beating the New York Rangers on Dec. 14, with players returning from health and safety protocols in the past week.

Anaheim, which was playing its third game after having three postponements, grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals by Sam Carrick in the first and Cam Fowler in the second.

Josh Gibson made 32 saves and kept Colorado off the board until Devon Toews scored midway through the second period. Gabriel Landeskog tied it early in the third with his 10th of the season.

O’Connor broke the tie when he and Nathan MacKinnon came into the zone on an odd-man rush. MacKinnon passed it to O’Connor, who went to one knee to beat Gibson at 18:49. It was his sixth goal of the season.

Gibson went off for an extra skater with a minute left, and Rantanen scored into the empty net, his team-leading 15th goal of the season.

MORE COVID ISSUES

Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf entered the NHL health and safety protocols before the game while forward Maxime Comtois returned to the lineup from protocols.

Comtois missed the last two games while in protocols.

Notes: Avalanche F Valeri Nichushkin (upper body) was scratched with an injury but is not expected to miss much time. Defenseman Ryan Murray (upper body) missed his 10th straight game. ... Ducks C Trevor Zagras, who was not in the lineup Sunday, was named the NHL rookie of the month for December. ... MacKinnon finished with three assists to extend his points streak to 10 games.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

Avalanche: At Chicago on Tuesday night.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Michael Kelly, The Associated Press

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