RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gabriel Landeskog is so hot right now even he can’t quite explain it.
Landeskog scored twice to give him six goals in three games, Nathan MacKinnon added a goal and two assists and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Saturday.
Landeskog, fresh off a hat trick against New Jersey, opened the scoring late in the first period and added another goal midway through the second. His seven goals through eight games this season are tied for third most in the NHL.
“I don’t know, obviously a lot of luck,” said Landeskog, who has a point in four straight games. “But at the same time you’re getting in the scoring areas and skating and working hard and a lot of it is just kind of coincidence. You happen to be in the right place at the right time.”
MacKinnon scored late in the third and assisted on both of Landeskog’s goals for the Avalanche. Philipp Grubauer stopped 42 shots.
Micheal Ferland scored and Curtis McElhinney made 19 saves for the Hurricanes, who have lost three straight after a 4-0-1 start.
Carolina outshot Colorado 43-22 but still came out on the losing end. The Hurricanes have outshot their opponents in all three games during their losing streak.
“I think our game is there, it’s just a matter of getting a couple bounces here or there,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You just don’t want the losses to bleed and make you feel like we’re not playing that well, when really in my opinion we’re playing pretty well. A bounce here or there, you’re talking about a whole different situation.”
Landeskog provided a jolt at the end of a sluggish first period. With both teams seemingly out of their element with a 1 p.m. local start time, opportunities were few until Landeskog and MacKinnon hooked up with 3:21 left.
After a rush down the ice Landeskog took a backhanded pass from MacKinnon at the left faceoff circle, and the Avalanche captain slipped the puck in between the near post and McElhinney’s blocker.
“(Our line), we’ve been playing well,” MacKinnon said. “We had a decent first five or six games but not great, so I think the last two or three have been awesome. We’re controlling the play a lot more. We just got some chances and took so advantage.”
Landeskog was the only player to score in the second. With Colorado on the power play after Andrei Svechnikov went off for slashing, Landeskog’s centering pass from the left circle deflected off Carolina forward Jordan Martinook’s leg and back onto Landeskog’s tape. With McElhinney out of position, Landeskog buried the redirected puck into the open left side of the net to double the Avalanche lead.
MacKinnon added insurance with a wrist shot over McElhinney’s glove with 3:09 to go in the third. The Hurricanes avoided the shutout when Ferland slipped in a goal with 2:33 left.
“We’re getting a lot of quality chances,” Brind’Amour said. “The difference for me is you give their grade A players an inch and it goes in the back of the net. We’re not quite there yet. We seem to need a few more chances to get those to go.”
This was Grubauer’s second win in three starts with Colorado. He robbed Svechnikov point blank, stopped a tricky redirect from Teuvo Teravainen, swatted Ferland’s backhand attempt on a breakaway and stonewalled Martinook’s one-timer in front of the net, all in the first two periods.
Grubauer’s best came late in the third when he gloved Justin Williams’ deflected slap shot from the left faceoff circle with 5:54 to go.
“Without the way he played we wouldn’t have won this hockey game,” Landeskog said. “He was outstanding. Honestly, it was one of the better goalie performances I’ve seen in a long time.”
NOTES: The Avalanche have scored a power-play goal in seven of eight games this season. … Colorado D Tyson Barrie had an assist to tie Sandis Ozolinsh for third place among franchise defenseman with 254 points. … Hurricanes F Sebastian Aho assisted on Ferland’s goal to extend his point streak to eight games to open the season. … Carolina C Clark Bishop made his NHL debut after being recalled from Charlotte (AHL). … Saturday was Avalanche C Colin Wilson’s 29th birthday..The Avalanche scratched D Mark Barberio and C Marko Dano. … The Hurricanes scratched F Phillip Di Giuseppe.
Avalanche: Conclude four-game road trip at Philadelphia on Monday.
Hurricanes: Visit Detroit on Monday before returning home for three-game homestand.