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Meltdown in Colorado - Avs 5, Canes 4

The Carolina Hurricanes jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and finally started a game out the way they wanted to, but then allowed two sets of goals within a minute each, took undisciplined penalty after penalty, and ended up losing to the Colorado Avalanche, 5-4 on Friday night at the Pepsi Center.

The Canes have still not won a game on the road this season, (0-4-1) and have now lost five games in a row.

The key point of the game was early in the second period when Tuomo Ruutu boarded Darcy Tucker from behind, knocking the Colorado winger out.  After a long delay, Tucker was carried  from the ice on a stretcher but fortunately was awake and communicating as he left.  Ruutu was given a five minute boarding penalty and a 10 minute game misconduct for his actions. 

The Avs took the momentum after that and would score two consecutive goals within 40 seconds during the ensuing powerplay, (and few moments after the PP), taking a commanding 4-2 lead.

Ruutu could be facing a suspension from the league after a review. 

The aggressive winger started out the game like a house on fire as he had four shots on goal as well as a goal and an assist for his efforts.  But the hit was inexcusable.  Ruutu has never been suspended by the league before and is not known as being a dirty player so perhaps the disciplinary action will not be severe which is handed out by the NHL office.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Joe Corvo and Ruutu, the Avs would tie things up when scoring goals at 16:16 and 16:47 in the first.  With the score 4-2 in the second after of the Ruutu incident,  Matt Cullen would score on a wrap around to keep the score close.

In the third period the Avs got a 5-on-3 advantage and boom, boom, boom they would quickly score again making the score 5-3.  But after missing a chance on a penalty shot, Ray Whitney would score a goal a bit later to make the score 5-4.

The Canes would try, but were unable to tie things up. 

Eric Staal had a meltdown himself with just 40 seconds left.  He was called for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct,  then was given a misconduct and a game misconduct as he blew up at the refs after the call against him.  

The Carolina center had a rough night with the officials as he was called for goalie interference after being knocked into Craig Anderson in the second period and was undoubtedly upset about the stick between his legs at the time of the slashing call.

A frustrated Carolina team will take on Minnesota next on Saturday night as they put an end to this dismal State Fair road trip.

Game Notes:

  • Once again, Joni Pitkanen played a solid game.  He was hung out to dry twice along with Cam Ward when Aaron Ward was pinching during both Colorado goals in the opening period.  Perhaps the star defenseman had some flashbacks of being paired with Anton Babchuk last year?
  • Matt Cullen and Scott Walker also played well and created several chances.
  • The new lines were buzzing in the offensive zone most of the night.  The problem was in the defensive end.  The Avs were skating unfettered at times in the Carolina zone. 
  • The team won 55% of the game's faceoffs.  Brind'Amour finished at 64%, Staal 59%, Jokinen 55%, and Cullen 55%. 
  • Carolina added to their league high penalty minute totals and they continue to take more minor penalties than any other team in the league.  Needless to say, it's hard to win games when you are killing penalties most of the time.
  • The Hurricanes next opponent the Wild, is another team which is struggling.  They have a 2-7-0 record and lost in St. Louis on Friday night.