Several Lake Erie call-ups came up big Saturday night as the Avs overcame two separate two-goal deficits to beat Carolina at home. Rookie goaltender Calvin Pickard recorded his first NHL win stopping all 17 shots he faced (including a tremendous goal-line stop with his stick in the 2nd). Starter Berra was pulled late in the first after allowing 3 goals on just 10 shots.
Among the call-ups tonight were Tomas Vincour, Andrew Aggozzino and Ben Street, dubbed the "monster" line. The three played on a line together in Lake Erie and were great in Denver tonight producing a couple of assists and combing for a plus-3 rating.
After a very shaky first two periods and despite missing several regulars, the Avs rallied back from being down 2-0 and 3-1 to get a 4-3 win in front of a raucous Denver crowd. I hope any fans that may have left early were allowed back in, because this was one of the most exciting games we've had all year. The guys played with urgency, passion, very reminiscent of last season's squad.
The scoring came early in the first with a Carolina wrister that rang the crossbar and in from a very familiar face--John Michael Liles. The old Avs blueliner got his first goal of the season by a nice setup from Jeff Skinner. Then just 90 seconds later Nathan Gerbe extended the ‘Canes lead after a chaotic scrum in front of the net resulted in a screened Berra helpless as the puck went by him.
Later in the first The Avs managed to get on the board after a centering pass from Redmond deflected off a Carolina skate and in, great effort from the monster line.
Yet just when we thought the Avs were coming close to a tie-game, Carolina winger Andrej Nestrasil notched his first goal in a Hurricanes sweater. The forward was picked up from Detroit and playing in his first game with his new team. Definitely wasn't the hardest wrister in my opinion, very likely why Roy gave Berra the yank afterward.
Skip ahead to the 2nd period, 8:25 in, Avs on the power play. Erik Johnson makes a sweet move to fool the defender and fired a laser that beat Cam Ward just as the penalty expired. Great to see EJ play as well as he did tonight, offensively and defensively. End of the 2nd, still 3-2 Carolina.
I don't know what Roy said to the boys at the intermission, but it sure as hell seemed to work. The entire third period had the ice tilted in the Avs favor. They outshot outhit and downright outplayed the Hurricanes for the whole 20 minutes. Yet the Avs waited until there were just over five minutes remaining to tie it up (they seem to like keeping us in a nervous sweat).
At 14:43 Jarome Iginla fired his classic wrist shot past Ward on a great passing setup from Landeskog and Mackinnon. Mack by the way had 3 assists on the night and looked simply explosive throughout the game. When his confidence is up it's astonishing what he can do.
Considering the Avs have been into extra time seven times so far this season and have only won twice, the idea of getting the W in regulation seemed a much better idea than in OT.
And that is just what they did. After more relentless forechecking the Avs took their first lead with a great tic-tac-toe play that resulted in Zach Redmond firing one in. Another great setup from Mackinnon.
The boys needed this one. After a very demoralizing loss to the Caps Thursday night a feel-good, come from behind victory is just what the doctor ordered.
MHH Three Stars of the game:
1st Zach Redmond.
2 goals, plus-3, 19:44 TOI
2nd Calvin Pickard
0 goals allowed on 17 shots, 1st NHL win
3rd Erik Johnson
Goal, 4 hits, 2 blocks, 25:00 TOI
In case you missed it:
The Avs are 9-0 on home ice against the Carolina franchise. Their last win in Denver was February 6th, 1996 as the Hartford Whalers.
@ Arizona Coyotes
Tuesday November 25th, 7:00 PM MDT