DENVER, COLO. – The Carolina Hurricanes suffered a 4-3 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday.
Goals from defenseman John-Michael Liles and forwards Nathan Gerbe and Andrej Nestrasil were not enough to hold off a third period surge by the Avalanche.
Starting goaltender Cam Ward was tagged with the loss, making 31 stops on the night.
Carolina took it to the Avalanche early on as Liles and Gerbe scored to establish a 2-0 lead during the first six minutes of play.
After Colorado’s Zach Redmond posted the first goal for the home side, Nestrasil, a recent newcomer to the Hurricanes as a waiver pickup from Detroit, scored his first career NHL goal to extend the Hurricanes lead to 3-1.
After forcing Colorado head coach Patrick Roy to pull starting keeper Reto Berra, the Hurricanes’ offense couldn’t beat rookie Calvin Pickard who stopped all 17 shots he faced and eventually earned his first NHL win.
For the final two periods, the Avalanche scored three unanswered goals, one in the second from Erik Johnson and two in the third.
Following Jerome Iginla’s tying goal, Redmond’s second of the game became the game-winner with 1:35 remaining.
“Obviously the start was good,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“After that, we didn’t generate nearly as much, we didn’t hang on to the puck nearly as much, and went down to five D. It looked like we had trouble makin’ plays.”
Notes: Carolina defenseman Brett Bellemore was injured early in the first period while absorbing a hit along the boards in the Hurricanes end and did not return to play, leaving the Hurricanes with five blue liners to finish the game with… The Avalanche outhit the Hurricanes 17-8…Carolina had no opportunity on the power play, while faced with killing off all four Avalanche man-advantage opportunities they faced…Colorado outshot Carolina 35-27 with Nestrasil (4), Justin Faulk (4), and Eric Staal (3) putting most pucks on net for the Hurricanes.