Redemption is best served with 1.2 seconds remaining in overtime.
After having several opportunities to score the go-ahead goal in the third period, Ryan O’Reilly redeemed himself with the game-winner to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at Pepsi Center.
“He had like nine chances to score,” said Paul Stastny jokingly after the game. “It’s good for him and good for the whole team.”
O’Reilly poked the puck away from Carolina’s Justin Faulk at center ice, raced down the left wing side and ripped a slap shot from the top of the circle.
“I saw that there were 10 seconds on the clock and the guy came at me,” O’Reilly said. “I just tried to get a good stick on it, and lucky for me I poked it ahead. I saw we had four seconds on the clock, and I’m not the quickest skater so I knew it had to be a slap shot at the net. He (Carolina goaltender Cam Ward) came out to challenge and I just got him with a low blocker shot.”
The overtime goal was O’Reilly’s second of his career (his first came this season against Florida on Jan. 18) and tied a franchise record for the latest goal in the extra stanza with Ville Nieminen’s tally on Jan. 17, 2002 versus Phoenix.
Officially, the goal will go down as being scored at 4:58 of overtime.
“It was a lucky break for me that I got the overtime goal,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t think I deserved to score, my hands just weren’t there, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
O’Reilly has now picked up points in three straight games and four of his last five contests. He continues to lead the team in all three scoring categories with 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points.
Colorado has now won two straight games and have picked up points in each of its last three games.
The Avalanche headed to St. Louis immediately after the game to play the seventh set of back-to-back contests this season. Saturday’s game with the Blues begins at 6 p.m. MT.
New Line Working
It’s only been two games, but the scoring line of David Jones, Paul Stastny, and Milan Hejduk is paying dividends.
Since the trio was created following the Vancouver game on Feb. 4, the Jones-Stastny-Hejduk line has combined for four goals and six assists. They have each picked up points in the last two outings.
“We have played together before. We are all working hard and we have confidence moving the puck,” Stastny said. “We give up chances sometimes but at the same time we create chances.”
On Friday versus Carolina, Hejduk and Stastny found the back of the net, while Jones contributed with assists on his linemates’ goals.
Stastny now has 13 points (three goals and 10 assists) in his last 11 games and Jones has three goals and three assists in his last three contests.
Jiggy In The Zone
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere kept Colorado in the game early and throughout the matchup with Carolina, stopping a season-high 39 shots.
The Hurricanes fired half of their 42 shots in the second period, when 21 pucks found their way towards Giguere. Carolina had 12 shots in the first, seven in the third and two in overtime.
“We tried to make sure that we were throwing a lot of pucks at him,” said Carolina forward Eric Staal of the Avs netminder. “He was there making the first save a lot of the game.”
The victory is Giguere’s 14th of the season and 245th of his career, tying current Avalanche goalie coach, Kirk McLean, for 46th place on the all-time wins list.
He also appeared in his 552nd career game on Friday night, tying Johnny Bower for 50th place on the NHL's all-time games played list.
Giguere has started eight of the last nine games and 10 of the last 12 for Colorado. He is currently scheduled to backup Semyon Varlamov on Saturday in St. Louis.
Military Appreciation Night
The Avalanche hosted their first-ever “Military Appreciation Night” on Friday against the Hurricanes.
The team donned special camouflage jerseys during the pregame warmup that will be auctioned online at auction.nhl.com from Feb. 10-24. Proceeds benefit Kroneke Sports Charities, which supports numerous agencies including military.
All the branches of the U.S. military were honored during the game and Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta of Fort Collins dropped the puck during a ceremonial faceoff before the contest.
Colorado has won eight consecutive home games against the Hurricanes and is unbeaten in its last 10 home outings in this series (8-0 with two ties)…Carolina's last win in the Mile High City was 16 years ago, Feb. 9, 1996, when they were still the Hartford Whalers.
The Avalanche/Nordiques are 69-43-21-1 all-time against the Hurricanes/Whalers franchise, their most wins versus any opponent.
Since moving to Denver in 1995-96, the Avs are 14-4-3-1 against Hartford/Carolina.
Colorado improved to 11-2-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season, 7-1-0 at home and 4-1-0 on the road…That .846 winning percentage ranks as the second-best record against the Eastern Conference behind St. Louis (11-0-2, .923).
The Avalanche did not have a power-play for the second consecutive game, as Carolina was not whistled for a single penalty tonight after Chicago did not commit a minor or major on Tuesday at Pepsi Center…Colorado won both games, the first NHL team to win two consecutive games without a power-play opportunity since Phoenix last season from Nov. 10-12, 2010.
The Avalanche’s penalty killing unit has killed off 13 straight opponent power-play chances.
The Avs have posted 18 one-goal victories, tops in the NHL (18-9-3).
Peter Mueller has seven points in his last eight games (5g/2a).
Milan Hejduk appeared in his 966th career game tonight, leaving him one shy of tying Adam Foote (967) for the second-most games in Avalanche/Nordiques history…Joe Sakic is the franchise leaders at 1,378 contests.
Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty extended his point streak to four games.