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Pickard gets first NHL win, Avalanche top Hurricanes

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- Angry at themselves for playing one of their poorest first periods of the season, the Colorado Avalanche regrouped and rallied for three consecutive goals to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Colorado overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, and rookie goalie Calvin Pickard stopped all 17 shots he faced after relieving Reto Berra in the first period to earn his first NHL win.

Jarome Iginla, who had gone 12 games without a goal, tied the game with 5:17 remaining in the third period and he fed defenseman Zach Redmond, who scored in the first period, for the winner with 1:35 to play.

Iginla passed to Redmond skating down right wing for a shot Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward had no chance to stop.

"We had talked about it earlier on a power play, me creeping down there," Redmond said. "I was able to time it right and he put a perfect pass on my tape and made it easy for me. It's hard for forwards to read D-men coming down back door, especially when everyone is gripping their stick tight in the last minute."

Iginla scored the tying goal after taking a pass from Gabriel Landeskog in the right circle. Ward was screened by Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon, who had a career-high three assists.

"It's been a while," said Iginla, who moved into a tie with Sergei Fedorov for 48th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list with 1,179 points. "I know I have to produce more and I want to. [Landeskog] made a great play to me on that goal. He gave me a nice pass and I just tried to shoot quick. Nate was there and screened the goalie.

"It was pretty cool, but Nate was flying the whole period. We know, especially in these one-goal games, we've got to find ways to produce. I thought everybody turned it on from the second period to get ourselves back in it."

The loss left the Hurricanes with an 0-10-2 record (two ties) in their past 12 games in Denver, with nine consecutive losses at Pepsi Center. The franchise's previous win came Feb. 9, 1996 when it was the Hartford Whalers.

The Avalanche might not have been in a position to come back if Pickard hadn't made a sensational save against Alexander Semin at 5:20 of the second period. The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead when Pickard managed to turn around and stretch his glove across the goal line with Semin on the doorstep looking to cash in a rebound.

"It’s 3-1 and the puck’s on the goal line and Semin has a shot there," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Maybe it goes to 4-1 and it turns out different. They picked up steam and outskated us."

Pickard said he was fortunate to make the save.

"I definitely got lucky on that one," he said. "Our defender got a stick on it and it went through my 5-hole and hit the post. I just seemed to twist around. It was right there and I just tried to get my glove there. Desperation."

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy knew the importance of the save.

"Calvin made a phenomenal save. Sometimes there's key moments in games and that was one of them."

Erik Johnson's goal at 8:25 of the period cut the Avalanche's deficit to 3-2. Johnson was at the upper edge of the left circle when he took a shot that found its way through traffic. The goal came 2 seconds after a power play expired.

The Avalanche, who had the only power plays of the game, went 0-for-4 and are in a 1-for-27 slump with the man advantage in their past nine games.

The Hurricanes grabbed a 3-1 first-period lead and chased Berra, who faced 10 shots, at 16:50 of the period after Andrej Nestrasil scored his first goal of the season. His shot from the right circle went through defenseman Nick Holden, who was on his knees. The puck hit Berra's left pad and bounced inside the post.

Former Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles and Nathan Gerbe scored for Carolina. Liles scored his first goal of the season at 3:48, beating Berra to the glove side while skating in the left circle. Gerbe made it 2-0 at 5:10 with a shot from the slot for his first goal in 15 games and second overall.

Redmond was credited with his first goal of the game at 10:52 when his shot from the bottom of the left circle hit the skate of Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera and caromed into the net.

"It was a very tough first period," Iginla said. "There was a lot said. Nobody was happy with the way the first period went. All the way around, all of us weren't sharp. You can imagine [Roy] wasn't too happy. I thought from there on every single guy was going."

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