Svechnikov, Hurricanes beat Avalanche 3-0
AP Sports Writer
DENVER — Petr Mrazek got a piece of the shot with his pad, felt the puck trickling behind him and swiftly swung his stick around to knock it away.
“Sometimes,” the Carolina goaltender said, “those saves are lucky.”
Only thing: He was doing that all night.
Andrei Svechnikov had two goals and an assist, Mrazek stopped 38 shots and the Hurricanes earned a rare win at Pepsi Center by beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Monday.
“We won this game because of him,” Svechnikov said of his goalie. “He’s playing amazing.”
Mrazek’s fourth shutout of the season propelled the Hurricanes into a tie with Pittsburgh for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Carolina currently holds the tiebreaker.
“We have to keep grinding and keep working hard,” Mrazek said.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton also scored as the Hurricanes won in Denver for just the second time in 13 games since Colorado moved into its longtime home for the 1999-2000 season. It’s the first time Carolina has won in regulation in this building.
“That’s crazy. But I don’t know how much it means to be honest with you,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “None of those guys in there have probably been in the lineup for any of those, although I’ve been around for a lot of them. It’s a big win for us this time of year.”
Colorado remains two points behind Minnesota for the final wild card in the Western Conference. The Wild lost earlier to San Jose.
Philipp Grubauer turned back 30 shots. He was back in net over Semyon Varlamov after shutting out Buffalo on Saturday.
“We’ve got to capitalize on our chances,” Grubauer said. “They’re a really skilled team, very offensive oriented.”
Hamilton scored his 13th goal of the season on a delayed penalty in the second period. Defenseman Erik Johnson tripped Svechnikov near center ice, with Justin Williams sending the puck over to Hamilton, who lined a shot over Grubauer’s glove.
The Hurricanes have proven nearly automatic with a lead going into the final period, improving to 28-1-2.
Svechnikov made it 2-0 7:08 into the third, which was plenty of cushion for Mrazek. His biggest save was robbing Colin Wilson of a goal midway through the third. Mrazek stopped Wilson’s wrist shot with his pad and then reached behind to bat it away with his stick.
It was that sort of night for Mrazek, who made 13 saves in the final period.
“That was special,” Brind’Amour said. “I haven’t seen some of those saves in a game.”
For his big game, Svechnikov credits taping his stick in a different fashion. That was on the advice of Hamilton, who wanted some of the credit.
“He changed it up and there you go. What can I say?” Hamilton said. “We hung out yesterday so we’ll have to do that more.”
Nathan MacKinnon had seven shots on goal to bring his total to a league-leading 304 this season. He joins Joe Sakic (339 in ‘95-96, 332 in ‘00-01) and Claude Lemieux (315 in ‘95-96) as the only Avalanche players to eclipse the 300-shot mark.
Carolina withstood two penalties in the first period, including a delay call on defenseman Calvin de Haan for knocking the net off its pegs. The Hurricanes nearly scored the game’s first goal at 11:24 when Svechnikov skated in and sent a shot off Grubauer. On the play, he pushed Grubauer into the net as Jordan Staal lined in a rebound. The officials immediately disallowed the goal for incidental contact.
The Avs remain without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who is sidelined for at least a month with an upper-body injury.
“You can’t replace him,” defenseman Tyson Barrie said. “We owe it to him to get some wins and do everything we can to get in the playoffs and give him a chance to come back.”
NOTES: De Haan took a stick to the face at 13:13 of the third period. He appeared to suffer a cut near his right eye. “We had to take him to the hospital. That’s the big downer on the night. We hope he’s going to be OK,” Brind’Amour said. … Carolina improved to 20-13-3 on the road this season. It’s tied for third-most road wins in franchise history.
Hurricanes: At Columbus on Friday.
Avalanche: Host Anaheim on Friday.
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