The Carolina Hurricanes end their four game road trip in the mile high city Friday night. The Hurricanes had an opportunity to go 3-1-0 on trip with a win in Colorado.
The Hurricanes weren’t able to do that Friday night as they lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Once again, it was poor play in the first and second period from the Canes that dug a hole too deep for them to come back from.
The first period was very sloppy for the Hurricanes. The were too fancy and they tried to force too many plays. That led to odd man rushes that Colorado took advantage of. Erik Johnson opened the scoring following an odd man rush for the Avalanche that was caused by a bad pinch by defenseman Ron Hainsey, who played poorly in Colorado.
Colorado’s second goal of the first period was by Matt Duchene who scored on a beautiful wrap around. The first period ended with the Avalanche up 2-0, and frankly, they should have been up by more. Justin Peters played well in the first and kept the Canes in it.
The second period started with a bang as Drayson Bowman scored off a great pass by Jordan Staal twelve seconds into the second. It was Bowman’s first goal of the season. That didn’t turn the game around for the Hurricanes, though.
A little over half way through the second period. Matt Duchene makes a nice spin around pass to Alex Tanguay as he beats Justin Faulk to the puck and fires it home from the slot. That made it 3-1, and that is how the second would end.
The third period started off slow as well for the Hurricanes. It took thirty-six seconds for Matt Duchene to score his second goal of the game, his third point. He walked into the slot and fired a wrist shot home on Peters. It was a powerplay goal and it put Colorado up 4-1.
Two minutes later, Andrej Sekera scores his first as a Hurricane off a nice feed from Jiri Tlusty. The goal cut the lead in half, but the Canes weren’t able to climb back. The final score was 4-2 in favor of the Avalanche.
The Hurricanes simply need to play better in the first period. They have scored only three first goals this year. The Hurricanes need to come out with more energy in the early portions of the game and support their goaltender.
Justin Peters was not the issue tonight. He made big saves early on that kept the Hurricanes in it. That being said, the Hurricanes severely need Anton Khudobin back in the lineup. They play with more confidence in front of Khudobin, and Khudobin is much more reliable than Justin Peters.
Kirk Muller did some line shuffling in the third period. Jordan Staal joined Eric Staal and Alex Semin on the first line and first powerplay unit following Colorado’s fourth goal. This line played very well.
This line used its size and speed to create scoring opportunities, and it definitely needs to be looked at more by Muller. The line he put together there out played Colorado at even strength and on the powerplay. Don’t be surprised if that line sticks for the Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Other line changes included a Jiri Tlusty-Elias Lindholm-Drayson Bowman line and a Tuomo Ruutu-Riley Nash-Brett Sutter line. The line centered by Elias Lindholm also looked very good. The Riley Nash line was fine. Don’t expect Brett Sutter to stay there, it would’ve likely been Radek Dvorak on that line, but he left after the second with a lower-body injury and did not return.
The Hurricanes will return home and play Monday. It doesn’t get easier, though. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be coming off a break and will be ready for the Hurricanes. There will be a Preview and Recap on Cardiac Cane on Monday. And make sure to follow CardiacCane on twitter for in game updates.