Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar challenged his club to provide more offense, and his players responded.
Led by defenseman Tyson Barrie's three-point night, the Avs came back from an early deficit and held on late to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center.
"Obviously, we're having trouble scoring. We have two goals in four games, it's abysmal," Barrie said. "You have to rely on your top guys to get you out of it. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and the coaches put some pressure on us. I think it was a good way how guys responded."
On a team that has more than a few former 20-goal scorers and 50-point getters, for the Avalanche to be averaging 1.9 goals per game is surprising.
After Colorado was shutout twice on its recent road trip, Bednar met with several of his players expected to provide offense to light a spark that would hopefully lead to more firepower.
It was only three goals, but Tuesday's output was a good start.
"Our core guys tonight, they were driving the bus, and that's what we need from them," Bednar said. "We had a couple meetings over the last few days of trying to get that whole group to step up all at the same time. That's what we need in order to produce."
Video: Coach Bednar's postgame press conference
Barrie's play helped get the Avalanche on the scoreboard after the team had played 38 minutes of solid hockey.
His first shot from the right circle during a power play was redirected in by Gabriel Landeskog at 18:18 of the second period to tie the game 1-1, and then Barrie gave Colorado the lead 46 seconds later on a similar shot that didn't need any deflection to find the far side of the net.
Just like that, it was an avalanche of goals and the club had its first lead in over a week.
"I think even leading up to it we were playing well," said Barrie, who also assisted on Nathan MacKinnon empty-net tally late. "It was nice to get a power-play goal there. I thought we were working it around good, and then Gabe did a great job in front and got a stick on it. To get another one right after was a big confidence booster going into the third."
Video: Tyson Barrie on raising to the challenge
The Avs players have talked recently about how the power play can help the squad's offense get going, and Landeskog's tally seemed to do that. It also ended a 0-for-23 drought on the man advantage that dated back to Feb. 16.
"It's nice to get on the board as a power-play unit, and we've talked about it before; the power-play unit needs to get our offense going and be that springboard for our offense," Landeskog said. "Definitely need to keep working on that and getting pucks to the net."
MacKinnon also broke his goalless drought of 15 games with a game-sealing tally with 50 seconds left.
Yes, MacKinnon's 13th of the year came with no goalie present, but it still counts all the same, and he did a good job of finding separation in the slot while the Hurricanes were barreling down defensively.
MacKinnon finished the night with game-high five shots on goal and won 70 percent of his faceoffs (7-of-10).
"He was good tonight," Bednar said of MacKinnon. "He was really good."
In fact, the entire team was good as Bednar used all four of his lines up until the final minutes of the contest.
"We keep showing it. It's way too few and far between, but one, when we do put a game like this together, there is no reason why we can't do this on a nightly basis," Landeskog said. "But we need four lines going. [Carl Soderberg's] line had a great game today and [Matt Duchene's] and [John Mitchell's], it felt like everyone was going and that's what we're going to need from everybody."
So where does the squad go from here? Barrie said the Avs need to have consistency to their offense, which has been all too elusive for them this season.
"There are 17 games left now, and we're building the team to go forward for next year, too," Barrie said. "We want to leave with some confidence and show that we are the guys that can lead this group. Tonight, we did a good job, but we have to keep this going or it doesn't mean anything."
Gabriel Landeskog recorded his fourth goal in the last six games and is now tied for the team lead in tallies with 16.
Landeskog's power-play marker with 1:42 left in the second stanza came after he provided a screen in front of Carolina's Eddie Lack and redirected Tyson Barrie's shot past the netminder. Colorado had played well up to that point, but Landeskog's tip seemed to open the floodgates for the club's offense as it scored again less than a minute later.
"We were playing well, we just weren't getting rewarded for it," Landeskog said. "We kept telling ourselves to stick with it and it was going to come. You get that first one, you get that second one, obviously it swings the momentum our way and in a big way. We got to keep working on our offense and keep working on that. It was good for our offense to obviously get on the board as far as team confidence and individually as well."
The Avalanche captain has four of the team's last 10 goals.
Video: Landeskog discusses the win over Carolina
ANDRIGHETTO PICKS UP FIRST POINT
Forward Sven Andrighetto picked up his first point as a member of the Avalanche with an assist on Tyson Barrie's goal in the closing seconds of the middle period.
Andrighetto was playing in his second game with Colorado after being acquired at the trade deadline last Wednesday from the Montreal Canadiens. The Zurich, Switzerland, native has played both contests on one of the Avs' top two lines with center Matt Duchene and right wing Mikko Rantanen.
He now has two goals and seven assists in 29 NHL games this season.