After another long layoff, the Colorado Avalanche took care of business Thursday night beating the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 despite being badly outshot. The team was badly outplayed at times but thanks to another great performance from Semyon Varlamov and opportune offense, the Avs were able to improve their record to 7-5 on the season. You’re not going to win many games in which you give up 60 shots, so the Avs didn’t necessarily deserve this win.
The victory brings the Avs record to 5-1 at the Pepsi Center this year, something that the home fans have to be exstatic about.
It was a rough start as the Hurricanes go on the board first, less than a minute into the game. Patrik Nemeth and Rocco Grimaldi combined on on a terrible defensive zone giveaway and Semyon Varlamov whiffed on a short side shot that he should have stopped. Colorado looked like they were sleepwalking through the first five minutes of the game and were lucky to limit the damage to one goal against.
When they finally woke up, the Avs tied it up at the 12:30 mark as Carl Soderberg tipped in an Erik Johnson slapshot. The play was set up by extended pressure thanks to a delayed penalty and a nice little drop pass from Mark Barberio for the second assist.
Five minutes later, Patrik Nemeth broke the tie, scoring his first NHL goal. It was a weak goal on Cam Ward, but it came from sustained pressure on a great shift from the Yakupov/Kerfoot/Greer line.
After a few big saves from Varlamov, Elias Lindholm finally tied the game at two after Anton Lindholm (no relation) was unable to clear the puck from the defensive zone. For the second time in the game, a defensive zone breakdown from Rocco Grimaldi led to a Carolina goal.
The Avs jumped ahead again with about eight and a half minutes left in the period as Blake Comeau tipped in a cross-ice pass from Carl Soderberg after Carolina’s Victor Rask blew a tire at the blue line.
Only two minutes later, Gabriel Landeskog extended the lead when he knocked in a rebound to make it 4-2. The goal was all thanks to a tremendous drive to the net by Nathan MacKinnon.
Just a minute later, the Avs made it 5-2 when Mikko Rantanen tipped in a beautiful pass from MacKinnon with the man advantage. The Avs were gifted a powerplay thanks to a failed offside challenge by the Canes on the Landeskog goal.
The Avs were unable to hold the three-goal lead for long as Derek Ryan knocked in a garbage rebound late in the period, making the score 5-3 going into the second intermission.
The Avs were outshot again in the third but Varly stood tall and was able to maintain the 5-3 score until the final buzzer.
The final shot total was 60-27 for the Hurricanes.
- Andrei (or Dmitri as the Canes play-by-play crew kept calling him) Mironov had by far his best game so far this season.
- Rocco Grimaldi is really bad in the defensive zone.
- The Kerfoot-Yakupov-Greer line looked great for most of the game
- Varlamov is the team’s MVP and second place isn’t close
- This team is going to have to start limiting shots against or they’re going to lose a lot of games.
- The Avs have turned into one of the best home teams in the NHL.
The Avalanche travel East as they have a back to back this weekend against the Flyers and Islanders. The hope is that they can split the two games because after that they’ve got another four days off.
This one isn’t an ordinary break as the team will be flying across the Atlantic for a two-game series against the Ottawa Senators in Sweden.