It sure didn't look like it at the start. Good thing David Aebischer was at the top of his game.
Aebischer stopped 36 shots and the Avalanche bounced back from a
sluggish start to beat the Hurricanes 3-1 Tuesday night.
"Pretty much from Day 1 of the season, he has been consistent
in his play," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "That is why he
has as many wins as he does, and that is why his numbers are as good
as they are."
The Avalanche seemed out of sorts at the start, and Carolina took
advantage, peppering Aebischer with 11 shots before the period was
even halfway over.
Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Aebischer was up to the task.
"We weren't really good in the first 10 minutes," said
Aebischer, who stopped 17 shots in the period. "We just have to
put together 60 good minutes."
In case Aebischer didn't frustrate the Hurricanes enough, Milan Hejduk scored his 26th goal at 12:55 after Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes nearly killed off a two-man advantage.
Weekes stopped consecutive shots by Rob Blake at the point, but
Hejduk tipped a third from the same spot with five seconds left on
the first penalty.
Hill was called for the second penalty when he swiped Teemu Selanne in the face with his stick, leading someone in the Carolina general manager's box to slam their fist on the counter.
"The call? It was a joke," Hill said. "Bottom line is the
refs feel like they have to call something because it's a [star]
Steve Konowalchuk and Steve Moore also scored for Colorado,
5-0-2-1 its past eight games. The Avalanche earned at least a point
for the 17th time in 18 games (13-1-2-2) despite not having a shot
on goal in the third period.
Pavel Brendl scored for Carolina, but it came too late. The
misses early kept the Hurricanes winless against Colorado the past
13 games (0-10-3), dating to Feb. 9, 1996.
"They've got a great team. I just didn't see it tonight,"
Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said.
Konowalchuk put Colorado up 2-0 on a power play 5:53 into the
second period, punching in a rebound for his 14th of the year after
Joe Sakic hit the right post from close range.
Moore put Colorado up three and sent Weekes to the bench with
his third goal 3:12 later, lifting a shot just under the cross bar
on a loose puck just outside the crease.
"Our power play was good tonight," Konowalchuk said. "We got
two off the power play, and that was the difference."
Brendl cut the lead to 3-1 with his third of the season on a
power play at 13:36 of the third period, lifting a rebound over a
Carolina pulled Jamie Storr, Weekes' replacement, with 2:10 left
in the game, but Aebischer kept turning away shots for his 23rd
"He played a great game; give him a lot of credit," Hill said.
"I don't know if it's him playing great or us hitting him with
shots, but he sure looked good tonight."
Colorado played without D Adam Foote (migraines), RW Dan Hinote (concussion) and C Andrei Nikolishin (abdomen). ... Carolina was without F Marty Murray, who flew back to North Carolina for the birth of his first child. ... Colorado F Riku Hahl, who has missed 46 games with a broken shoulder, is expected to participate in contact drills next week. ... Carolina's Tomas Malec skated for about 30 seconds without his stick in the third period after it got stuck between two panes of glass.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Pepsi Center Location: Denver, Colorado
Referees: Brad Meier, Kelly Sutherland Linesmen: Andy McElman, Randy Mitton
Attendance: 18,007 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Milan Hejduk (25)
(Power Play) Assists: Rob Blake, Joe Sakic
Steve Konowalchuk (14)
(Power Play) Assists: Joe Sakic, Martin Skoula
Steve Moore (3)
Assists: Teemu Selanne, Derek Morris
Pavel Brendl (2)
(Power Play) Assists: Bret Hedican, Sean Hill