After four difficult losses on their long east coast road trip, the Colorado Avalanche came away with an overtime victory tonight against the Hurricanes of Carolina. Mikko Rantanen scored the game winner to cap a truly impressive game playing on Matt Duchene’s wing.
After being shut out the previous four periods, the Avalanche exploded in tonight’s opening frame for a 25-shot-attempt first period. The 16th of these shot attempts would prove to be the most effective of the lot, a laser off the stick from Tyson Barrie, created by an up-ice pass from John Mitchell to Jarome Iginla, who found Barrie trailing in open ice. The goal was Barrie’s fourth of the season to go along with his 20 assists. The point put him past Gabriel Landeskog to reclaim the fourth spot on this season’s team scoring list.
Sadly, the lead wouldn’t last. With just 55 seconds left in the first period, Jeff Skinner (“Skinner!”) collected an awkward pass/dump-in below the left circle from Lee Stempniak and fired an odd-angle slap shot at goalie Calvin Pickard before defenseman Nikita Zadorov could close. Pickard reacted accordingly and seemed to be in ideal position to stop the shot, but the puck squirted through five-hole and into the net to tie the game for his 19th tally of the year.
The second and third periods would prove to be less fruitful, with both team pushing the pace and putting shots on net, but neither capitalizing on their opportunities. The Avalanche would even draw not one, but three penalties. The third of which occurred in the waning seconds of regulation, when Justin Faulk, who had a very difficult game, tripped John Mitchell to give the Avalanche a 4-on-3 advantage for the first two minutes of overtime. Clearly, the Hurricanes discovered how poor Colorado is with a man-advantage and likely did it on purpose. The Avalanche would struggle to even break into their opponent’s zone for the entire power play, but finally found their footing back at even-strength.
Finally, with 37 seconds to go in the extra frame, Matt Duchene came away with the puck, made a great play skating in Carolina’s zone and set up Mikko Rantanen for a blistering shot for the game winner, the 12th goal of his rookie season. The Avalanche would win on the road for the first time since time in 2017. Their last away victory came on December 23rd against the Chicago Blackhawks. What happened? Who knows, but that was a long time ago!
The victory brings Colorado’s record to 15-38-2, which makes them still the heavy favorite for the first overall pick in this summer’s upcoming amateur draft. The Avalanche will now head home after their five-game road trip to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.