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Hurricanes ride hot goaltender to victory over Avs

The SportsXchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes might be finding a new formula with a hot goaltender.

And that is Justin Peters.

Peters made 33 saves as the suddenly surging Hurricanes held off the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Tuesday night at PNC Arena.

"As a team, we want to build an identity," Peters said. "We want to be able to win those tight games."

All seven of the Hurricanes' wins this season have come by one goal.

Center Jordan Staal and right winger Patrick Dwyer scored for Carolina, which improved to 3-0-1 on its homestand.

Center Paul Stastny's second-period goal provided the offense for the Avalanche, which lost for the first time on the road (6-1-0).

The outcome pent a dent in the Colorado's best start in franchise history. Its overall record is now 14-3-0.

"We earned the win," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "There's a lot of talk about not scoring a lot right now, but we have to build a foundation."

That's coming with defense. The 33 saves for Peters, who was playing in a ninth consecutive game, matched his season high.

"We have to be there to help him out," Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey said, pointing out how much pressure the Avalanche applied. "What they're doing over there isn't a joke. They're playing fast, direct hockey."

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 26 shots, was rarely tested in the latter half of the game.

"I have to give it to them, they played really well at the start of the game," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I would say that the second half of the game was ours. We just didn't execute around the net and that was the only thing that was missing."

Staal's goal at 12:47 of the first period came off a rebound when Varlamov was unable to retreat into position after saving center Nathan Gerbe's shot.

"We just lost the puck in front of the net and they did a good job of crashing the net," Roy said.

The Hurricanes went up 2-0 when they caught the Avalanche napping in transition. Gerbe collected the puck and fed Dwyer, who was skating toward the net and converted for his first goal of the season just 26 seconds into the second period.

Peters stopped right winger P.A. Parenteau, who skated in alone, about six minutes into the game.

Colorado left winger Gabriel Landeskog had a shot go off the crossbar with about eight minutes remaining in the second period.

Shortly after, the Avalanche cashed in on a power play when Stastny tapped in the puck after it trickled through Peters on center Nathan MacKinnon's shot. That goal came with 5:26 left in the second period.

The Avalanche notched 15 of the last 17 shots of the second period. That included a successful penalty kill by the Hurricanes.

"It was a big kill," Muller said. "They got the goal and came right back with another power play."

Dwyer's only previous point this season came with an assist in the third game of the season at Pittsburgh.

Carolina's second-period goal was the second-fastest it has scored in a period this season. The fastest came Oct. 25 at Colorado with a tally 12 seconds into the middle period.

The Hurricanes didn't have a power play until the game's final 32 seconds.

Hurricanes right winger Radek Dvorak left with a lower-body injury early in the third period and didn't return.

"We had to shorten the bench a little bit, so fatigue started to kick in," Muller said.

NOTES: C Eric Staal, the Carolina captain, played in his 708th career game, moving into a tie with Kevin Dineen for third place on the franchise's all-time list. Only Ron Francis (1,186) and Glen Wesley (913) played in more games for the Hartford / Carolina franchise. ... D Matt Hunwick was added to the Avalanche roster last week, but the veteran of 291 NHL games hasn't been in the lineup for Colorado yet this season. ... Colorado LW Alex Tanguay, who had a goal and an assist in last month's game against the Hurricanes, missed his fourth consecutive game with a knee injury. ... Six of Colorado's seven road games have come against Eastern Conference teams. ... Colorado stays on the road for its next game, visiting the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. ... The Hurricanes end a five-game homestand Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks, who are second to the Avalanche in points in the entire NHL.
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