The Avalanche fell to the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night in Raleigh by a final score of 3-2 in a shootout. Both Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm scored, as neither Nathan MacKinnon nor Matt Duchene were able to convert in the extra frame.
Carolina goaltender Anton Khudobin made 30 saves in the victory, and has now won three straight after starting the season 0-8-2. The Avs are now 0-1-1 to start their five game road trip.
After falling into yet another two-goal deficit against the ‘Canes, (there were two in Denver on Nov. 22) the Avs rallied back with a pair of goals in the third from Duchene and John Mitchell.
The first period was all black and red. The ice was completely tilted for the home team, who drenched Calvin Pickard with 20 shots in the first frame alone. The first Carolina goal came on a beautiful passing play between Jordan Staal and Ryan Murphy. The two played catch dancing into the Colorado zone only to have Staal tap it in on the doorstep.
The Avs absolutely looked like they were playing the second of a back-to-back in the first period. They lost countless little battles throughout, and their legs just weren’t there. I noticed a lot of poor passes as well.
Second period, much of the same from Carolina with 13 more shots. Then six minutes in the ‘Canes extended their lead with a wrister from Patrick Dwyer in the high slot.
Despite being outshot, the Avs were able to generate a few scoring chances. Duchene rang a backhander off the crossbar, and MacKinnon (who also hit iron early in the period) was robbed point-blank in the slot by Khudobin.
Just 35 second into the third, the Avs got on the board after a fluttering puck skipped down right in front of Duchene who wristed it in over Khudobin’s blocker. Great effort from Iginla and Tanguay, the two worked hard to keep the puck in the Carolina zone and it paid off with a Colorado tally.
The third period showed much better play from the Avalanche. More time was spent in the offensive zone and there were much more scoring chances.
Halfway through the frame we saw a streaking John Mitchell go coast-to-coast and beam a rocket far side on Khudobin. Tie game, huge morale booster for the boys. The idea of starting a long road trip 0-2-0 isn’t exactly ideal.
Nothing is decided in OT, so we head to a shootout.
The Avs entered the shootout with five straight wins after starting the year 0-2. The Hurricanes however were just 2-4.
Hurricanes elect to go first and convert on a beautiful deke from Victor Rask. First up for Colorado is Nate MacKinnon, who is poke-checked right in the slot after attempting virtually the same move he has used in his past four attempts. Mack started 4-0 this year, now missed his last two.
Carolina scores again as Elias Lindholm dangles past Pickard in another pretty goal. Duchene then must score, but is stonewalled by Khudobin. Canes win; Avs have to settle for the lone point.
The boys will have the day off tomorrow before they travel to South Florida to face the Panthers Thursday night for the second and final time this year. The Avs dropped the first meeting 4-3 in OT on Oct. 21.