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Johansen breaks out of scoring slump with 2 goals, Avs beat Canucks 3-1

Vancouver loses three games in a row for first time this season
Vancouver Canucks left wing Arshdeep Bains, left, pursues the puck with Colorado Avalanche centre Andrew Cogliano in the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Ryan Johansen broke out of a scoring slump with two goals, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 24 shots and the host Colorado Avalanche beat the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Johansen tied the game in the second period and scored the go-ahead goal early in the third for his first goals since Dec. 29. Artturi Lehkonen sealed it with an empty-net goal with 27.6 seconds remaining.

Nathan MacKinnon had an assist on Lehkonen’s goal, giving him at least a point in all 27 home games this season. MacKinnon tied Guy Lafleur (1979-80) for the seventh-longest home-point streak in league history, according to NHL Stats.

J.T. Miller had a goal for a Canucks team that’s dropped three in a row for the first time this season. Vancouver turned in a solid defensive effort, though, in rebounding from a 10-7 loss in Minnesota on Monday.

Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the Canucks.

Johansen sent a long wrist shot toward traffic in front of the net that found its way past Demko for the lead. Soon after, Vancouver nearly tied it up when Elias Pettersson raised his stick to knock in a puck. But it was ruled a high-stick and the goal was disallowed.

Georgiev was at his best in the third period when the Canucks dialed up the pressure.

In the second period, the crowd began chanting “MVP.” It could have been for MacKinnon or even Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, who was sitting in the front row. Both players are the current favorites in their sports to win MVP awards, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Johansen tied the game at 1-all early in the second period when he knocked in a carom off the back board.

Fresh off his hat trick Monday, Miller staked the Canucks to a 1-0 lead in the first when he broke free from the Avalanche defense and sent a shot past Georgiev’s glove. Miller has 15 points in 19 career games against the Avalanche.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Bains to make his debut for hometown Canucks

It was a memorable night for Canucks forward Arshdeep Bains, who made his NHL debut. Born in Surrey, British Columbia, Bains said before the game it was “every kid’s dream to play for their hometown team.” He added that his father was going to be in attendance.

The Canucks have several former Colorado players on their roster, including defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Ian Cole. Canucks assistant coach Adam Foote was a fan favorite when he was with the Avalanche and helped the team to a pair of Stanley Cup titles. His No. 52 was retired by the team.


Canucks: Finish a three-game trip Thursday night at Seattle.

Avalanche: At Detroit on Thursday night.


Pat Graham, The Associated Press