The Carolina Hurricanes suffered a mile-high loss in Colorado Saturday night, as the Avalanche’s best players led the way to a 4-1 win for the home team in Ball Arena.
The defending cup champs got two first-period goals from Cale Makar and a third-period insurance goal from Nathan MacKinnon, as Carolina didn’t quite have enough offensively to stick with the Avalanche. The Canes’ lone goal came from Jordan Staal in the middle frame, while Mikko Rantanen scored an empty netter to cap off a four-point night.
Antti Raanta, despite the goals against, had a solid night in net, stopping 24 of 27 shots faced and making some really great saves to keep the Canes close throughout the night. Pavel Francouz got his first win of the season in his fourth try of the year, stopping 21 of 22 shots faced.
The power play was, once again, a major issue for the Hurricanes, as Carolina went 0 for 5 with an extra man. And beyond just the scoreless mark, the power play was just flat-out bad. The Avalanche led in scoring chances 4-1 during all of Carolina’s power plays combined.
The first period was relatively even in everything but the score, as the Canes didn’t play bad by any means but found themselves down 2-0 at the end of the opening 20.
The first tally for Makar came on the power play following an Andrei Svechnikov roughing. Makar fired well wide from the point, but the puck caromed off the board, over the net, off the skate of Raanta and into the back of the net. It was a weird goal and one that certainly wasn’t the result of poor play from the Canes.
Makar made it 2-0 later in the first on a weird sequence, which featured a should-have-been-boarding against Rantanen on Calvin de Haan that kept the puck alive for the Avalanche. Rantanen got the puck and passed across to Makar, who put it past Raanta with a delayed penalty coming against the Canes.
All in all, the Canes played relatively even with the Avalanche throughout the course of the first period, and were overwhelmingly better 5-on-5, but were down 2-0.
After a whole bunch of penalties but no power play goals for either team for most of the second period, the Canes cut the Colorado lead to 2-1 thanks to a great little connection between Jordan Martinook and Staal. Martinook made a fantastic play to stay patient and feed Staal at just the right time, and the captain poked home the goal to get the Canes on the scoreboard.
After Carolina had a few decent looks at tying the game early in the third period, Colorado bumped the lead back to two goals thanks to MacKinnon. Rantanen picked up his third primary assist of the evening, slotting one across to MacKinnon for the quick wrister past Raanta to make it 3-1. Rantanen added a full-ice empty netter late.
The Canes will be back in action Monday night in Chicago.