Already depleted by injuries, things went from bad to worse early in Saturday’s contest against the Carolina Hurricanes. They allowed two quick goals to former Av John-Michael Liles and the diminutive Nathan Gerbe. Shortly after Zach Redmond scored to cut the deficit in half, Avalanche goaltender Reto Berra surrendered another tally, this time to the newly-acquired Andrej Nestrasil.
That would mark the end of Berra’s night, and the end of the Avalanche’s struggles in the contest. As they did on Redmond’s goal, a line of players that had just been called up from the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters consisting of Andrew Agozzino, Tomas Vincour and Ben Street, provided energy with an aggressive forecheck, seemingly giving a boost to the entire team.
“These three guys I thought played a good game for us,” said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. “They gave their energy in the first period, and I thought they had some great moments.”
It was a different Monster however, that may have provided the biggest spark. Entering the game in relief of Berra late in the first period, goaltender Calvin Pickard (who was recalled on Tuesday) kept the pillows closed the entire contest; casting aside all 17 shots he faced. These saves included the swatting of a sure goal away with his glove just before it crossed the goal line in the second period.
“I definitely got lucky on that one,” said Pickard. “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.”
Also in the second frame, forward Nathan MacKinnon would begin to take over the contest. He would assist on Erik Johnson’s goal, cutting the deficit to one.
It was all Avs in the third period, as Jarome Iginla and Redmond would tally in short succession. MacKinnon would pick up assists on both goals. What had looked to be shaping up as another disappointment for Colorado, turned around quickly. The team would get its first lead of the contest, holding on for a 4-3 win; Pickard’s first at the NHL level.
The team unfortunately did suffer yet another injury, as in the third period Vincour had a shot hit off of his foot and did not return. Roy said more should be known about Vincour’s condition on Sunday. The team is currently without goaltender Semyon Varlamov (groin), defensemen Brad Stuart (hamstring) and Ryan Wilson (shoulder) and forwards Jamie McGinn (back), Dennis Everberg (shoulder), John Mitchell (leg), Jesse Winchester (concussion), Patrick Bordeleau (back) and Alex Tanguay (facial fracture) due to injury.