Mason Raymond didn't even have to shoot the puck to be the overtime hero for the Vancouver Canucks.
Raymond got the game-winner by poke-checking the puck off defenseman Jonas Holos' stick and past goaltender Peter Budaj's pads 28 seconds into the extra period, giving the Canucks a 4-3 victory against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena on Tuesday night.
Matt Duchene's sixth-attacker goal with 1:33 left in regulation tied the game at 3-3, and Budaj forced the overtime when he stopped Manny Malhotra's breakaway in the final five seconds of regulation. But after the Avs won a faceoff, Holos carried the puck toward his own net and Raymond's quick swat gave the Canucks the victory.
"It wasn't the prettiest, but we'll take it as a team and I'll take it as a player. I saw him get the puck and go to head behind the net, I just gave it a good whack toward the front and it went between (Budaj's) legs and in," Raymond said of his third goal of the season.
Avs coach Joe Sacco said Holos "made the wrong decision. He should go behind the net instead of taking it in front. But overall, if you look at his game, he did a good job. It's unfortunate the way it ended. Those things happen during the course of a season. You learn from them and move forward."
Vancouver improved to 4-0-1 at home and has won four in a row in its own building.
"We always want to make this a tough building to come in to, and we want teams to know that," Raymond said. "We pride ourselves on playing well at home, and it's a big part of our success."
The Avs have lost three in a row, but Sacco was upbeat after getting a pair following a pair of regulation losses.
"It's a big point for us," he said. "It gets us going back in the right direction again. I thought overall, except for the fact that we didn't get the second point, it was a well-played game by our team, especially in the last two periods."
Colorado played without a backup to Budaj after starter Craig Anderson injured his knee in the pregame warmup. Budaj played as scheduled. but Anderson did not sit on the bench during the game, and the team said he'll be sent home to Denver for evaluation while the Avs head to Calgary for a game on Thursday.
"Peter played great for us," Sacco said. "He gave us a chance to win, and that's all you can ask from your goaltender."
Vancouver got a solid effort by Roberto Luongo, who returned after a two-game break and made 36 saves.
"He gave us a chance to win tonight, especially in the second half of the game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We turned the puck over, we were beaten to pucks and they took the play away from us. He gave us a chance, and we got a lucky bounce at the end."
Vancouver also got goals by Jeff Tambellini, Ryan Kesler and Peter Schaefer, who got his first NHL goal in more than two years. Daniel Sedin's assist on Tambellini's goal extended his season-opening points streak to nine games -- tied for the longest in the NHL.
Colorado also got goals by David Jones and Daniel Winnik. Avs defenseman John-Michal Liles assisted on Winnik's goal to set a record for the longest season-opening points streak by a defenseman. He has points in each of the Avs' nine games, breaking the mark of eight set by Ottawa's Filip Kuba in 2008-09.
Winnik put the Avalanche ahead 2-1 at 4:40 of the second period as he deflected in a centering pass from Ryan O'Reilly. Kesler got his second in two games by beating Budaj for a power-play goal at 7:31.
Schaefer put the Canucks ahead 4:58 into the third with his first NHL goal since March 27, 2008 while playing for Boston against Toronto. He sat out all last season as no team elected to sign him. But the Avs forced the play for most of the period and were finally rewarded when Duchene converted Milan Hedjuk's pass across the slot after Budaj was lifted for the extra attacker.
"You never want to give one up during the last couple of minutes," Raymond said. "Fortunately, we were able to get one to go in. It's a big two points, especially in our division."