DENVER - Despite firing a road franchise record 60 shots on goal, the Carolina Hurricanes dropped a 5-3 decision to the Colorado Avalanche.
Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and Derek Ryan tallied goals for the Canes, who struck first with a quick start on the road, but Gabriel Landeskog's tally in the second period was the game-winner for Colorado.
Here are five takeaways from the first of two straight out west.
Sixty. 60. Six-zero.
That's how many shots on goal the Hurricanes registered tonight in Denver, a new franchise record on the road and just five shy of the overall franchise record of 65 from 1984.
But, of course, that's not the statistic that matters - not if the Canes can't manage to turn those into more goals. And tonight, they fell short.
"We had a lot of shots and chances. We just have to put them in," Lindholm said. "Three (goals) is not good enough for 60 shots."
But of those 60 shots, how many did Semyon Varlamov see?
"A lot of times it was kind of [bad] shots, too. We need traffic," Lindholm said. "A lot of times we made it pretty easy for the goalie."
"A couple times we could have been at the net and in his eyes, and we weren't. If he sees it … he's going to make the save," head coach Bill Peters said. "You've got to be at the net and in the goaltender's eyes."
The Hurricanes had about the most ideal start you could ask for tonight. The team came out buzzing and took a 1-0 lead just 55 seconds in. Justin Williams applied high pressure in the offensive zone to force the turnover. Then, Teuvo Teravainen slid the puck down along the goal line to Rask, who scored from a sharp angle.
Video: CAR@COL: Rask sneaks a wrister past Varlamov
The Canes then held the Avalanche without a shot in the first five-and-change, at one point boasting an 8-0 advantage in that category.
"We started on time for the most part," Peters said. "We shot ourselves in the foot with some of the decisions we made away from the puck."
Video: CAR@COL: Lindholm wires home wrister from the slot
The game completely turned in a short span of three-and-a-half minutes in the middle of the second period.
Blake Comeau's second goal of the season made it a 3-2 game at the 11:25 mark of the second period. At the other end of the ice, Klas Dahlbeck was pinching low, but Victor Rask was smartly covering the point. The Avs broke the puck out of the zone, but then Rask fell in the neutral zone, essentially turning the Avs' rush into a 3-on-1. Dahlbeck rushed back and might have got a stick on Comeau's shot, which he got just enough of to float it over Ward.
Not even three minutes later, Ward made a save on Nathan MacKinnon, but the puck squirted free. No one could locate it, but then Avs' captain Gabriel Landeskog did and scored to make it a 4-2 game.
Peters challenged for an offside zone entry on the play, but the call on the ice was confirmed and the Canes were penalized for delay of game, a new wrinkle to that specific coach's challenge. On the ensuing power play, Mikko Rantanen got his stick on the puck in the slot to stretch his team's lead to three goals.
"Our guys have a view in the back that they still think is offside. I didn't have the view they had on the bench, but they had a view that they're pretty confident is offside," Peters said. "Obviously that didn't work out, and then we get the double-whammy with the power play goal."
The Canes got one back before the end of the period when Derek Ryan poked in his second of the season, but the damage had been done at that point.
Video: CAR@COL: Ryan backhands rebound past Varlamov
Perhaps the absence of Brett Pesce was felt on the defensive side of things tonight. Jaccob Slavin and Pesce comprise one of the best shutdown pairs in the National Hockey League, so missing one half of that duo is going to have an impact.
"Obviously you miss him. He's a good player, and he's great on that side of the ice. He shuts down a lot of the best players in the league every night. The looks they got were good. A rebound goal, two tip-in goals. You can't be asking Wardo to make all those saves," Justin Faulk said. "We just need to be tighter and limit their chances."
It's unfortunate that the Hurricanes leave Colorado empty-handed after a road game in which the team scored first, dominated early, scored three goals and generated 60 shots on goal. Those are typically ingredients for success.
"We just talked the other day about if we can score three, that's a pretty good number to be at. You don't want to be giving up three, four or five, and that's what we did," Faulk said. "We can't expect to score five or six goals every night, especially the way we've been giving up goals. We need to be better defensively and tighten things up."
"We're not there yet. Today we kind of came off our game after the first period. I thought we played really well in the first, and I don't know what happened in the second," Lindhom said. "It's tough in the third when we're down two and still hunting. We still have a lot of work to do. We'll keep grinding."
It's now off to Glendale, where the Canes will face off with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.