Lehkonen’s OT goal lifts Avalanche past Hurricanes 3-2

Sports

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Backup goalie Pavel Francouz likes a heavy workload when he has a chance to play for the Colorado Avalanche.

He proved he could handle it Thursday night.

Artturi Lehkonen scored 1:55 into overtime to reward Francouz for his 46 saves as the Avalanche beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

“It’s more fun,” Francouz said of the steady stream of shots sent in his direction. “You don’t have time to think about anything.”

Evan Rodrigues and Alex Newhook also scored for Colorado, which was outshot in every period of regulation and 48-15 overall. It was the first overtime victory in three chances this season for the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, who beat the Hurricanes for the second time in six nights.

“Didn’t create a lot, that’s for sure,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “But we were opportunistic. We’ll take the two points and run.”

Martin Necas had a goal and an assist, and Sebastian Aho also scored for Carolina. Antti Raanta made 12 saves.

Lehkonen’s fifth goal of the season gave him goals in consecutive games.

“He’s probably Mr. Clutch at this point,” Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar said. “Any goal he gets is well-deserved.”

Francouz appeared in his fifth game of the season. Both of his victories have come against the Hurricanes.

“It wasn’t the most beautiful win, but we take it anytime,” Froucouz said.

He finished one short of his career high for saves.

“They’re just throwing everything to the goalie,” Francouz said.

With all the shots, the Hurricanes expected more.

“It was a good effort by our team,” Necas said. “Obviously, one point isn’t good enough.”

For Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, the outcome didn’t diminish how Carolina played against a top team.

“Twenty guys just doing it the way we need to do it,” he said.

Necas scored the tying goal, his eighth of the season, with 9:37 to play in regulation. He made a move on the right side. It came with Francouz trying to defend the net without his stick after a collision with teammate Andreas Englund.

“He was thinking I was just going to leave it for him,” Francouz said. “He couldn’t stop so we just collided, and we know how it ended.”

Aho’s eighth goal came 7:14 into the second period when the puck came back to him after an initial launch didn’t make it to the net and Necas helped recover the puck.

Newhook put the Avalanche ahead 2-1 at 14:20 of the second period just seconds after the Avalanche controlled a neutral-zone faceoff.

Rodrigues scored the game’s first goal on a power play when the Hurricanes failed to clear the puck. That added to the production of Colorado’s league-best power play.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Of the Avalanche’s nine victories this season, this was the second time they failed to score at least three goals in regulation.

“Sometimes you win in different ways,” Bednar said. “I felt they were the quicker team … just from an energy standpoint.”

The low shot total came one game after Colorado posted a season-high 47 shots in a loss to St. Louis.

FIRST IN CLASS

Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov played his 300th career game, becoming the first member of the 2018 draft class to reach that mark. In those games, he has a total of 227 points (101 goals, 126 assists).

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At Washington on Saturday.

Hurricanes: At Minnesota on Saturday.

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