DENVER (AP) — Jaccob Slavin’s homecoming was a celebration for his family and a disappointment for his boyhood team.
Slavin scored a go-ahead goal 1:17 after Carolina tied it late the third period, and the Hurricanes rallied to beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Thursday night.
It was Slavin’s first career goal against his hometown team and kept Carolina’s streak alive heading home. The Hurricanes extended their points streak to seven games thanks to Slavin’s shot with 1:39 remaining.
It was his first goal at Pepsi Center since he was first starting to forge his hockey career.
“I remember playing here when I was a little mini-mite out on the ice during intermission,” said Slavin, who was born in Erie, Colorado, about 39 miles north of Denver. “So, to be out here during the real game and just be able to contribute and obviously get the two points is huge for us.”
Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho also scored, and James Reimer had 27 saves as Carolina finished its road trip 4-0-1.
Gabriel Landeskog scored and Philipp Grubauer stopped 37 shots for the Avalanche, who lost despite leading with less than three minutes remaining.
“We’re up 1-0 with three minutes to go with a chance to win the hockey game,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “To me it’s one or two plays at the end of the game. You got to be better than that.”
Landeskog broke a scoreless tie with his seventh goal at 4:05 of the third period, and it looked as if it would hold up. Svechnikov tied it with his 15th at 17:04 on a scramble in front of the net.
“We come in here and try and follow it up and we fight and work for the first 40 minutes of the hockey game and it was just kind of up for grabs,” Landeskog said.
With his family in the stands, Slavin finished off a 3-on-1 with a wrist shot from the right circle at 18:21, his fourth goal of the season, to give Carolina the lead. Aho added an empty-net goal at 19:54.
“We were pushing pretty good, we had some good looks in the third and we’re getting ready to pull the goalie and then bang one home,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “So, it changed the complexion. It’s obviously nice to see Slavs get the game winner, hometown kid. It feels great for him and his family. All in all, good trip.”
Each team had quality scoring chances through the first two periods, but couldn’t cash in. The Avalanche came up empty on five power-play chances, including 21 seconds of a 5-on-3 in the second period. Carolina was 0-for-2 on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes.
Colorado got its sixth power-play opportunity when Hurricanes center Brian Gibbons drew a high-sticking minor 2:44 into the third. The Hurricanes finally cashed when Landeskog tipped Nathan MacKinnon’s shot from the top of the slot past Reimer.
Landeskog had a great chance later in the period but Reimer made the save to keep it 1-0.
“You know the cliche, a full 60 minutes, and it’s there for a reason,” said Reimer, who had three wins and a shutout on the trip. “Tonight we just battled and grinded and we were able to find a way at the end.”
Colorado lost in regulation for just the second time in three weeks.
NOTES: Colorado D Cale Makar (upper-body injury) missed his sixth straight game but could return Saturday against the Blackhawks. … Aho has 18 goals since Nov. 1, which is the most in the NHL in that span. … Avalanche D Erik Johnson returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a lower-body injury.
Carolina: Hosts Florida Saturday night.
Colorado: Hosts Chicago on Saturday night.
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