Rask scores in OT as Hurricanes beat Avalanche 1-0

DENVER (AP) Cam Ward's big saves helped the Carolina Hurricanes end nearly 20 years of futility in Denver.

Ward stopped 26 shots for his first shutout of the season, Victor Rask scored 1:49 into overtime, and the struggling Hurricanes beat the Colorado Avalanche 1-0 on Wednesday night.

It was Carolina's first win in Denver since Feb. 9, 1996, when the team was the Hartford Whalers. The Hurricanes had lost 10 in a row on the Avalanche's ice and managed just two ties in the last 19 seasons.

Rask's goal and Ward's performance helped end that streak and gave Carolina its second win in six games this season.

''I guess it's been a long time coming and we were due,'' Ward said. ''It's always a tough building to play in.''

It was the first 3-on-3 overtime game for both teams.

Colorado's second group in the extra period got caught on the ice, leading to the goal. Murphy fed Rask in the slot, and Rask took the puck to the front of the net and beat Semyon Varlamov with a backhander. It was Rask's second of the season.

''They were out there a long time,'' Rask said. ''I had a step on the guy and just put it in the net.''

Varlamov finished with 18 saves.

Colorado had a great chance to win in regulation on an odd-man rush late in the third period. Jarome Iginla fed a pass across to Matt Duchene, who had Ward down and an open net in front of him, but the goalie got his stick on it to keep it scoreless.

''It's absolutely painful,'' Duchene said. ''I am probably going to have nightmares about that one. I made the move and got it upstairs just in case he was down and he sticks it out and just nicks it enough to go wide. I feel awful right now.''

Iginla almost ended it early in overtime when he went alone into the Carolina zone. Ward made a save on the breakaway.

Soon after, Rask scored to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 mark on their seven-game road trip.

''With 3-on-3 obviously you have to be ready for the scoring chance because they're going to be coming,'' Ward said. ''The way we've seen throughout the league, the goaltender has to make a big save and then hopefully you can turn it around and go back the other way. Fortunately we were able to do that.''

Varlamov returned to the net after backup Reto Berra played two games. Varlamov entered Wednesday 1-2 with a 5.06 goals-against average. He was pulled from his last start after allowing five goals on 19 shots against Boston a week ago.

He was much sharper against the Hurricanes, especially in the second period. He stopped center Elias Lindholm on a clear shot from the right circle and also made a glove save on Kris Versteeg's breakaway with 36 seconds left in the period.

He also stopped Nathan Gerbe on a shorthanded breakaway in the first.

''Both teams had some looks,'' Carolina coach Bill Peters said. ''Gerbe had a shorthanded breakaway, Versteeg was in alone and we had a 2-on-1 prior to the game going into overtime. We had opportunities we just didn't find a way to finish them. Good play by Victor taking it hard to the net.''

NOTES: Carolina D John-Michael Liles left the game late in the second period when he took a skate to the face from Iginla. He returned in the third period. After the game he said he took the butt of the skate to his two front teeth but was fine. ... Avalanche D Tyson Barrie served the second game of his three-game suspension for his hit on Anaheim D Simon Despres on Friday.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.