Five minutes into this game, and it looked like Carolina’s long streak of losses at Pepsi Center (the Canes are winless in every game played at the Pepsi Center ever) was over. The Hurricanes had two goals, one scored by former Avalanche (and all-time Avalanche leading defenseman scorer) John-Michael Liles. Reto Berra was looking as shaky as he did last season, plus the team is missing Mitchell (leg injury), McGinn (back injury), Varlamov (day to day groin injury), Everberg (separated shoulder), Tanguay (facial fractures), Stuart (leg), and Wilson (shoulder). I thought we were in for a long night of facepalming and grimacing. For the next few minutes, things continued to be shaky, but a few minutes later, with a line of Lake Erie Monsters pressing offensively (Ben Street, Tomas Vincour, and Andrew Agozzino), Zach Redmond threw the puck in front of the net, where it bounced off of a Carolina defenseman’s skate and past Cam Ward. After perhaps the team’s first lucky bounce this year, things still remained a bit helter-skelter, and then the Hurricanes scored again. With three goals against in the third period, Patrick Roy pulled Reto Berra out of the net and sent Captain Calvin Pickard in to right the Starship Avs.
I don’t know what was said in the lockerroom between the first and the second, but it must have been a heck of a speech, because the team came out focused, recollected, and ready to turn things around. Eight minutes in, Erik Johnson scored just after a powerplay opportunity expired with a huge slap shot. In the third period, the team continued to play really hard, but it took a little over fourteen minutes before Jarome Iginla was able to fire a rocket past goaltender Came Ward and tie things up. Four minutes later, Zach Redmond crept up on the play, received a stellar pass from Iginla, and then scored what ended up being his second goal of the game. Calvin Pickard played really well and made 17 saves for the team in 43 minutes of play, and earned his first NHL win.
-Andrew Agozzino played his first NHL game, and earned his first NHL assist.
-Calvin Pickard’s first NHL win comes in his third NHL game.
-Nathan MacKinnon had three assists tonight.
-Gabriel Landeskog had one of his best games of the year, and earned two assists. (Landeskog played really well last game too, even though the team ended up losing.)
-The Hurricanes took four penalties, and the Avs took zero. It’s rare for the Avs to go unpenalized, but I really think this game was a great example of how much the team benefits when they don’t spend much (or in this case, any) time on the penalty kill.
-The team won only 49% of the faceoffs, but Matt Duchene was at 67%.
-The line of Lake Erie Monsters (the “Monster” line), was together down in the AHL, and their chemistry and excitement showed throughout the game.
-The Avs outshot the Hurricanes 25-27, outhit them 17-6, and outblocked them 19-17.
-Erik Johnson once again led the team in icetime, with an even 25 minutes.
-Nick Holden had another pretty rough night, but his icetime was kept under 20 minutes at least.