The two teams combined for 10 goals, including 7 in a wild second period, with the Avalanche walking away with the 6-4 victory. The home had six different players find the back of the net, including another shorthanded goal for Logan O’Connor. Artturi Lehkonen registered four points, while Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Johansen, and O’Connor each chipped in with two.
The Avalanche now move to 5-0 on the season, and remain one of just three unbeaten teams in the NHL.
For two teams expected to compete for the Stanley Cup, the first period was a little dull, especially to start. The Avalanche didn’t generate any dangerous scoring chances until well into the period, and the top line looked out of sorts.
Carolina got on the board first, with Kotkaniemi scoring just moments after the Avalanche killed off a penalty.
On a late powerplay, the Avalanche scored a huge goal to get things even.
A Johansen face-off win created possession, and his team took advantage. Lehkonen worked hard to recover the puck and get it to MacKinnon, who put on his dancing shoes. The center spun Slavin out of his skates, and fired a quick shot towards the net. Johansen parked himself at the far post, and angled the puck into the net with his skate.
The goal ended up being very important, and set up an insane second period.
Oh boy. Where do we start?
The first period felt a little timid. The second period was…chaotic.
And the chaos all started with Logan O’Connor. Again.
After another Bowen Byram penalty, O’Connor found himself with a shorthanded breakaway for the third straight game. And just like the previous two games, he hit the back of the net, giving the Avalanche the 2-1 lead. With the goal, he tied Joe Sakic’s franchise record of three straight games with a shorty.
The lead didn’t last long, as Brent Burns scored a powerplay goal soon after, the first powerplay goal Colorado has given up this year. And 85 seconds later, they took the lead with a Bunting goal.
At that point, an unhappy Jared Bednar switched his lines up, swapping his top two centers. It worked, to say the least, as Colorado responded with four unanswered goals.
The first of those goals came from Fredrik Olofsson, his first in an Avalanche uniform. A battle at the blueline saw the puck pop free to the center, and his perfect shot tied the game at three.
A few seconds later, MacKinnon drew a penalty, and the powerplay came through again. A beautiful rush by Cale Makar created a shot for Ryan Johansen. His rebound jumped out to Artturi Lehkonen, who deposited the rebound into the back of the net.
Less than two minutes later, Lehkonen set up MacKinnon, who was left all alone in front of the net. The Avalanche superstar ripped a one-timer past Kochetkov, extending the lead to two, but they weren’t done yet. Mikko Rantanen added a late powerplay goal, using Johansen as a screen, and Colorado took a 6-3 lead into the second.
In total, the second period saw 7 goals, 5 penalties, and for the Hurricanes, not nearly enough saves.
The third made the second seem like a mirage, as both teams recalibrated in the intermission and figured things out defensively, although the Avalanche didn’t seem terribly interested in scoring another goal.
Colorado’s only real scoring chance came on an absurd rush by MacKinnon, who flew past Skjei, only to see his shot bounce off Kovhetkov’s head.
Just over 12 minutes into the period, Slavin brought the Hurricanes within one, but it was hardly an offensive onslaught. His goal actually came on Carolina’s first shot of the period.
Even with their net empty for nearly three minutes, Carolina didn’t come particularly close to getting another goal. The Avalanche kept them to the outside, and held on for the 6-4 victory.
The Avalanche will now head back on the road, as they look for their 15th consecutive road win, which would be an NHL record. They head to Long Island to take on the Islanders Tuesday evening. The game starts at 6 PM MST.