Joe Sacco’s worries were realized Friday night as the visiting Carolina Hurricanes came into Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche. A day before the game, Sacco was worried that the Avalanche would not take the Hurricanes as serious as other teams, like Vancouver or Chicago. One period into the game, the Avs found themselves in an all too familiar spot, trailing going into intermission and Sacco’s nightmare had become reality. However, the team was not about to let Carolina steal a game from them especially on the first ever Military Appreciation Night at Pepsi Center.
The ‘Canes got on the board first seven minutes into the game with a goal from Tim Brent and the momentum seemed to be in Carolina’s favor. Then Mr. Consistency, Gabriel Landeskog, stepped up for the Avs with only 54 seconds left in the first to tie the game at one. The Avalanche were ready to go into the locker room with a 1-1 tie, but Jiri Tlusty had other thoughts. Beating Giguere with 23 seconds until the horn sounded, Tlusty put all of the momentum back with the visiting Hurricanes and gave them a 2-1 edge going into intermission.
The second frame proved to be the hottest frame of the night for the Avs. At 16:45, Hejduk tied up the game at 2. The Hurricanes struck next with Eric Staal scoring with 4:29 left in the 2nd. Avs fans thought that Carolina would take another one-goal lead into intermission, but this time it was Paul Stastny who had scoring a late period goal on his mind. With exactly 60 ticks left in the second, Stastny took a feed from a red-hot David Jones and helped Colorado go into the second intermission all knotted up at 3.
The third period was littered with some phenomenal saves by both net-minders. Both Giguere and Cam Ward seemed to be seeing the puck very well and made some crucial saves to send this one into overtime.
An extra four minutes and fifty-eight seconds was all Ryan O’Reilly needed to solidify a win for Colorado. With a risky move, O’Reilly decided to take a chance and poke check the puck away from Justin Faulk at the Carolina blue-line. The risk paid off and O’Reilly was one-on-one with Ward. O’Reilly stepped into his shot at the top of the left face-off circle and beat Ward stick side for the game winner at 4:58 in the overtime session.
With an unnecessary, hard-fought victory under their belts, Colorado now travels to St. Louis to take on the Blues Saturday night. It’s going to be a rough night for the Avs in St. Louis where they are 2-4 in the second game of a back-to-back series. This is the last split (home-road) back-to-back series for the Avs all year. Plus with some extra time off in February, Colorado can afford to play a little harder Saturday and continue to chip away for that coveted eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
- (C) O’Reilly COL
- (C) Stastny COL
- (L) Landeskog COL
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