The Carolina Hurricanes concluded their historic Western Conference road trip with a valiant come-from-behind victory over the red hot Colorado Avalanche.
After James Reimer, who had a sensational night, was finally beaten on the final of Colorado’s six power plays, the Canes didn’t go away quietly. Instead, they clawed back, scoring three times in the final three minutes to stun the Avs.
Even before tying the game, the Hurricanes’ desperation was evident down the stretch. The line of Warren Foegele, Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov created plenty of net front chances, including this one with about six minutes to play. Notice Svechnikov’s ability to get lost in coverage as defenders flock to Staal and Foegele.
Minutes later, the same group would score the tying goal. As seen in the clip below, it all started with a strong cycle and board play, as most of Carolina’s in-zone offense does. Svechnikov cycles the puck to Staal, who fires a beautiful pass to the slot. Foegele gets away with an incidental interference play on Avs defenseman Ian Cole, beating him to the net. Colorado’s winger, Matt Calvert, doesn’t see Cole go down and fails to drop to cover Foegele, who one-touches Staal’s pass on goal.
After beginning the cycle Svechnikov again disappears from the radar of the Avs’ defense. As Colorado’s Samuel Girard bolts back to the crease, Svechnikov takes a wide angle and gets behind Girard. Girard begins to puck watch and as Svechnikov closes in on his back, Girard is too slow to pick up the 19-year-old’s stick and Carolina notches the equalizer.
The weak side camera angle shown below better showcases Staal’s terrific pass and also the size disparity between Girard and Svechnikov.
Just over a minute later, Colorado native Jaccob Slavin potted the winner on a goal in transition.
It begins with a terrific cross-ice outlet pass from Jordan Martinook. Given time and space, Martinook finds Lucas Wallmark who feathers a gorgeous pass to Slavin. With Philipp Grubauer sliding cross-crease, Slavin roofs it.
When Slavin joins the rush, it creates an odd man rush for the Canes. Instead of sprinting all the way back to the crease, Colorado back checker J.T. Compher is content to stay on the heels of Brock McGinn. Notice in the clip below how Compher twice crosses over rather than skating straight back.
If Compher comes straight back to McGinn’s right, he may be able to disrupt the Wallmark pass, or at least make it more difficult. Instead, it finds Slavin’s tape, and he buries it.
Sebastian Aho would tally an empty netter in the closing seconds to seal the win and a terrific road trip. The Canes will return home for the first time since December 7th, to take on the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.