In search of a win on this lengthy road trip the Colorado Avalanche made their latest stop at the home of the Carolina Hurricanes. That win did not materialize this evening as a first period Martin Necas hat trick put the Avalanche in a hole early in which six power plays couldn’t dig out of in this 5-2 Carolina victory.
However the Avalanche wanted to start this game the opposite of that happened. First of all, Alexandar Georgiev gave up the first shot of the game on a simple lofted shot from Martin Necas just 1:52 into the contest. The visitors gave up another goal at 6:25 on Carolina’s second shot of the game, too. This one was with the extra attacker on a delayed penalty and Necas found himself uncovered in the slot. And a natural hat trick was competed in the first period at 16:51 as Necas took advantage of the Avalanche top line running around in their defensive zone with multiple failed clears to get a wide open net at his disposal. A quick 3-0 deficit was created in a hurry.
As things looked bleak, apparently Ryan Johansen getting a penalty to negate a power play was all the Avalanche needed to get life back into this game. They received a quick score from Zach Parise getting his first goal in an Avalanche uniform at 19:33. Then a very lucky bounce helped the Avalanche out as Hurricanes netminder Pyotr Kotchetkov had no idea where the puck was above him, then it hit the crossbar and landed in the net. The goal was credited to Samuel Girard who launched the puck from the neutral zone just five seconds after Colorado’s first score to end a wild and wacky period 3-2 in Carolina’s favor despite only giving up five shots on goal to them. But, it was a game again at least.
The second period started with a change in goal for Carolina with Antti Raanta is net and clearly still nursing a bit of an injury. Still, the Avalanche couldn’t get a puck past him despite firing nine shots on goal. Michael Bunting got the period’s lone goal at 12:06 on the power play to put Carolina comfortably ahead again 4-2.
Kochetkov was back in the Carolina net for the third period but it didn’t really make much difference. This period was highlighted with three Avalanche power plays totaling six for the evening with just over nine minutes on the man advantage where Colorado managed just three shots. It’s no wonder the unit hasn’t scored since the break. Despite this Georgiev was pulled for the extra attacker and Carolina was awarded a goal to Seth Jarvis in the final minute of play on a brutal call where Mikko Rantanen did nothing more than a stick check on him. That was the final goal for the 5-2 Carolina victory.
Both of the only goals for the visitors were scored five seconds apart which was the fastest two scores in Avalanche history. Unfortunately that was about the length of time the team had any momentum in this game. Carolina makes it tough on opponents and overall the statistics were fairly even but spotting a good team an early lead at home is pretty tough to overcome and a impotent power play just makes the hill too tough to climb.
In those glorious five seconds it was nice to see Zach Parise get on the board. He’s been working hard and effective early in this stint with the Avalanche and he deserved to get rewarded. The fact that it came at 4-on-4 on a nice play with Logan O’Connor might give the coaching staff some ideas who he should play with on a regular line.
The road woes continue as the Avalanche still have three more games to go before they can return to the Centennial State. A lackluster 12-11-4 road record undermines how dominant this team has been at home with a 20-5-0 record. Usually the Avalanche are strong on the road but it seems to be a real issue this season. Lack of focus, execution and offense generation are hallmarks of this team on the road with no clear solution.
The journey south continues for an afternoon meeting with the Florida Panthers at 4 p.m. MT on Saturday, February 10th.