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Tocchet on Canucks collapse: "MacKinnon said ‘I'm taking this game'"

Nathan MacKinnon Nathan MacKinnon - The Canadian Press

The Vancouver Canucks saw a 3-0 lead disappear Wednesday as the Colorado Avalanche scored four straight en route to their 4-3 overtime win. 

Nathan MacKinnon scored early in the third period to close the gap to one goal and later assisted on Valeri Nichushkin's overtime winner. Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet pointed to the Avalanche star, who leads the NHL with 115 points as the catalyst for the comeback. 

“MacKinnon said ‘I'm taking this game,’” Tocchet said after the loss. “They started to go, MacKinnon and them started to fly, and we just couldn't get anybody to grab hold of a puck, whether it's on a forecheck or a breakout, just to kind of slow things down. We were a little hot potato [with the puck] and we were kind of soft on the puck, mostly in the third.

"We need some guys to dig in on certain situations and we couldn't get anybody to grab a puck for us and hold it.”

The Avalanche tilted the ice in the final frame, outshooting the Canucks 17-3 while scoring two goals. 

“Best win of the year for sure,” MacKinnon said. “We didn't quit.

“We really dominated the third period. It was a fun win and to have that kind of third against this team - that’s a really, really good team, a tough team to play against - there was a lot of fight tonight.”

Despite Wednesday's loss, the Canucks continue to sit atop the Western Conference, three points ahead of the Avalanche and Dallas Stars with all three teams having played 67 games. 

The loss also snapped a four-game win streak for Vancouver following a 1-5-1 stretch.

“I think we (took) our foot off the gas,” defenceman Nikita Zadorov said. “We’ve got to have a killer instinct. We can't give them any chance to come back in the game. They got one late in the second and then they got a power play and then they just keep coming, and we couldn’t really get out of the zone. The teams like that, the players, their caliber … when you get a 3-0 (lead), you’ve got to learn how to play with this lead and just don't feed the animal.

"Just step on their throat and then shut it down.”

The Canucks will face the Washington Capitals on Saturday in the third game of a nine-game homestand.