In what was perhaps the most active 0-0 game for the first 54 minutes of the game, the Carolina Hurricanes eventually edged out the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 Thursday night. It was a tough one to swallow for Avs fans despite playing an overall decent game.
The Avs end this East Coast road trip going 1-2 and are probably very done with traveling to the East Coast. Luckily, they only have one more trip to the East Coast for the regular season against the Pittsburgh Penguins in April, and hopefully sometime in June for the Stanley Cup Final.
It was all Carolina to start. They had chance after chance, peppering Darcy Kuemper with the puck in the opening 10 minutes. Turnovers galore by the Avs did not help with this at all. In the first 10 minutes, Carolina was already up to 13 shots.
The Avs slowly recovered to end the period. After killing off a Mikko Rantanen interference penalty and having a good subsequent power play thanks to a Sebastian Aho hook, they started to get into their groove and play their game.
Somehow, someway, the Avs did not go into the break down by at least a goal. They had goose eggs on the board despite being outshot 19-11 and looked to continue to build up heading into the second.
Each team found the iron right at the beginning of the period for the Avs and Rantanen, while the Canes found it in the dying seconds. The early push from the Avs though saw them be much improved throughout the frame.
They outshot the Canes 17-6 in the period. A couple of power play opportunities for the Avs helped that case and included some good puck movement but no twine could be found. They also left several pucks sitting in front of Antii Raanta; close but no cigar for them heading into the third.
After killing off an early penalty, the Avs had several chances. Nathan MacKinnon hit the post and was stopped point-blank dow low by Raanta who just got over in time.
The Hurricanes stepped it up in the second half of the period, causing Kuemper to swim around his crease a couple of times. Both teams were stout defensively, not giving an inch and not allowing much possession for either side.
It would take a shot from the point by Ethan Bear that looked to be deflected by Nazem Kadri down low to beat Kuemper. Somehow, someway it found the back of the net and it gave the Canes a 1-0 lead.
They had a chance after killing off a slashing penalty from Devon Toews but could never set up in the offensive zone with the extra attacker. In the final build-up, Gabriel Landeskog tried a cross-ice pass in a horrific fashion, giving it up to Aho who was in all by himself to kill it off for good, 2-0.
Outside of the disastrous first period, the defense was okay. But the first period was the problem, where they consistently turned the puck over to the Canes multiple times. They were lucky to come out unscathed. It doesn’t help when the bottom four has the speed Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray and Kurtis MacDermid have. They left Kuemper out to dry, who was phenomenal tonight and certainly not the problem for the Avs.
Makar’s 13-game point streak comes to a close thanks to the shutout. It’s the first shutout the Avs have been held to since February 22nd, 2021 against the Vegas Golden Knights. Makar did also go down awkwardly after being taken out by an errant Hurricanes player. He grimaced when he got up but played the rest of the game. It’s something to keep an eye on.
Jared Bednar tested out several different variations of lines and defensive pairings. He had mentioned before the game that he was going to switch up the defensive pairings specifically, especially with the absence of Samuel Girard from the squad. He’s currently out with an LBI back in Denver getting checked out and may play a role in what Joe Sakic does with his team before the trade deadline in 11 days.
The Avs come home for one game, welcoming the Calgary Flames to town again on Sunday night. The Avs will look to seek vengeance after their 4-3 OT loss just a week ago and this loss tonight. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m. MT.