RALEIGH, NC – The Colorado Avalanche and the Carolina Hurricanes spent most of the three periods on Thursday night playing with their status as two of the best teams in the league, although they were unable to put a record on the net.
He needed a defender who hadn’t scored a goal since New Year’s Day to finally push the Hurricanes forward.
Ethan Bear scored with the first goal of the game with 5:40 minutes left and Sebastian Aho added an empty net, which lifted the Hurricanes against the Avalanche 2-0 in a clash of league leaders in percentage points.
In an even match, it was obvious that the players of Darcy Kuemper were more interested in killing time than scoring more goals.
“You just have to go online and play it easy,” Bear said. “Every once in a while you get those lucky rebounds when you’re working hard and playing the right way.”
In Bear’s case, the play began when his teammate Jesper Fast won a battle across the boards for the puck after Kuemper tried to clear it. The puck came out away from Bear near the Avalanche bench, and quickly fired a shot that possibly cut Colorado Nazem Kadri’s stick for a slight change of direction and eventually hit Kuemper.
As the Hurricanes celebrated, Kadri hit his stick against the ice in frustration.
It was the turning point, one that came after the Hurricanes and Avalanche failed to turn a set of 68 shots to that point.
“That’s how these games are sometimes,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “There were a lot of great quality opportunities both ways. Those weren’t coming in. You thought that could happen. It seems to work that way sometimes. It’s good that it was obviously for us.”
The Hurricanes added the final score after the Avalanche shot Kuemper with about 3 minutes to go, with Aho stealing Gabriel Landeskog’s pass near the center ice and skating to the scoreboard with 1:32 left to seal it.
Antti Raanta had 36 saves for his second playoff season this season for the Hurricanes, who won eight of 10. Carolina, who was second behind Colorado in getting 74.1% of the points available, also scored 10 points in 11 of 11 games.
Kuemper finished with 35 stops for the Avalanche, who came in with 87 points, the best in the league, and amassing 75% of the points available this season. Colorado has now lost four of five.
“I thought it was a well-played hockey game for both teams,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “Highly competitive, a lot of pace, not much room to move. So the score was 0-0.”
Colorado’s Cale Makar saw the end of his record-breaking 13-game assist streak, which was the fifth-longest for a defender in NHL history.
MAKING YOUR MINT
Landeskog was booked for kicking the ball away after the whistle.
“I think TJ didn’t like him saying he had a hard night, but that’s the way it is,” Landeskog said of referee TJ Luxmore.
This marked Raanta’s third consecutive outing in the net for Carolina, while Hurricanes expect No. 1 starter Frederik Andersen to return from an unspecified injury.
“Usually, when you get a bleach, it’s also a bit of luck,” Raanta said. “You need to have options in front of you.”
Raanta allowed two goals in wins against Pittsburgh and Seattle last week. Brind’Amour said Thursday that Andersen, tied for second in the NHL with 29 wins, “is not 100%,” but could play this weekend.
“Sure, that’s why we went out and did what we did this summer,” Brind’Amour said of the two goalkeepers in their first year with the team.
Carolina spent the first 10 minutes buzzing around Kuemper with quality chances, firing 12 of the first 13 shots of the game. But Colorado responded with a strong second period, taking a 17-6 lead on shots to put pressure on Raanta.
Carolina finished with a 37-36 lead.
“I thought a very entertaining goalless game.” – Brind’Amour.
Avalanche: Return home to receive Calgary on Sunday.
Hurricanes: Host Philadelphia on Saturday.
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Bear, Aho, Raanta help the Hurricanes beat Avalanche 2-0
Source link Bear, Aho, Raanta help the Hurricanes beat Avalanche 2-0