The Carolina Hurricanes returned from the break on Tuesday night and had their win streak snapped by the red-hot Vancouver Canucks. In their second game back, things wouldn't get any easier. An equally skilled opponent awaited as the Colorado Avalanche made their annual trip to Raleigh. The Canes were looking for some revenge after the Avs won 6-4 in their first meeting.
Along with Andrei Svechnikov missing his sixth straight game, Brett Pesce was ruled out with an illness, bringing Tony DeAngelo back into the lineup for the first time in over a month. Pyotr Kochetkov earned his second straight start after suffering a loss to the Canucks. For the Avalanche, they leaned on All-Star goalie and NHL wins leader Alexandar Georgiev.
If you missed the first period, you missed the Marty Party. Martin Necas entered the night with zero hat tricks in his career. He needed just 16:51 to change that. The first goal was a tough one for Alexandar Georgiev. Necas sped through the neutral zone and ripped a wrister that Georgiev got most of. He didn't quite get all of it as it trickled across the line to open the scoring 1:52 into the contest.
He didn't wait very long to score his second of the game. Less than five minutes later, Martin Necas doubled down during a delayed penalty. Teuvo Teravainen and Brent Burns made some excellent passes to set up Necas before he wired a shot from the slot into the net to make it 2-0 before the first commercial break. The third goal came late in the period, again with the help of Teravainen. Jaccob Slavin's shot from the point was denied, but Teravainen got to the loose puck before finding Necas with an open net to complete the hat trick.
If you ever wanted to see how to nearly make a hat trick meaningless, just look at the final minute of the first period from the Hurricanes. After drawing a penalty to negate a Colorado power play for the second time in the period, Zach Parise finished a 2-on-1 to score his first goal as an Avalanche with 26 seconds left. Seven seconds later, with that goal still fresh, Samuel Girard threw a puck at the net from just inside of center ice. Pyotr Kochetkov went to catch it and missed. The puck rang off the bar and went into the net to cut the Canes' lead to one goal going into the break.
After the chaotic ending to the period, Antti Raanta was in the net to start the second period. He welcomed himself into the game by making a huge stop on Nathan MacKinnon. Not to be outdone, Alexandar Georgiev made an equally impressive save on Dmitry Orlov. After coming up with two kills, the Canes got to work on the power play and restored their multi-goal lead. Teuvo Teravainen picked up his third helper, finding Michael Bunting for a beautiful goal to get the power play on the board.
Coming out for the third period, Pyotr Kochetkov was back in the net after Antti Raanta was announced to have suffered a lower-body injury. Fortunately, Kochetkov had flushed his early woes by putting in a strong period. He was tested early but stood his ground to maintain the team's two-goal lead. While Colorado had their chances to draw closer, the Canes' defense stifled them at every turn. In the end, Seth Jarvis capped his 200th game by being awarded an empty-net goal after Mikko Rantanen slashed him to prevent him from scoring, ensuring a 5-2 win for the Canes to jump back into the win column.
Things got a little hairy at the end of the first period, but the Hurricanes were by far the better team. Coming out of the break with two regulation losses would've been tough. Instead, they fought through it and earned two points. Pyotr Kochetkov and Antti Raanta each deserve praise for this win. Raanta came off the bench cold and was lights out in the second period. Once he went down, Kochetkov dug deep and finished what he started.
Post-injury, Martin Necas continues to rule the roost. He now has eight points since returning on January 19, seven of which have been goals. His hat trick is the second-fastest in franchise history to start a game (16:51), trailing only Cory Stillman's three goals in 11:28 in 2007. Not to be outdone, Teuvo Teravainen had a career night, too. After being given the primary helper on the awarded empty-net goal, he set a new single-game high with four assists. Seth Jarvis had a fun third period, going from blocking a shot with his hand to scoring the final dagger without putting it into the net in his 200th game.
For all of the incredible individual efforts, the penalty kill stole the show. After allowing three goals to Colorado's power play in October, the Canes' kill went 6-for-6 in this one, allowing just three shots. Without Brett Pesce in the lineup, Dmitry Orlov stepped up and picked up the slack. Once the Canes cleared the puck, it was hard for the Avalanche to get set up again. This would be a theme for most of the night. Nathan MacKinnon had a team-high four shots and a crossbar, but he was kept off the scoresheet. Mikko Rantanen played over 27 minutes, but was held to one shot. Cale Makar had his moments, though he also was held without a point. Carolina controlled play for most of the night, and the scoreboard reflects that.
The Canes will finish their mini-homestand on Saturday night as they celebrate their Hartford roots. The team will sport their white Whalers jerseys as they face the New Jersey Devils for the second time in a little over two weeks. After that, they're heading back on the road, making stops in Dallas, Arizona, and Vegas next week.