Martin Necas’ first hat trick carries Hurricanes past Avalanche 5-2

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Martin Necas posted a natural hat trick in the first 17 minutes, the first three-goal game of his career, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 on Thursday night despite changing goalies twice.

Carolina led 3-0 with 3:09 remaining in the first period thanks to Necas, whose hat trick was the fastest to begin a game in franchise history.

“I waited long enough (for a hat trick),” said Necas, who played his 330th career game. “It was nice, a good start to the game.”

Michael Bunting and Seth Jarvis also scored and Teuvo Teravainen had a career-high four assists as Carolina avoided what would have been its first two-game pointless stretch in two months.

Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 16 shots while playing the first and third periods. He was pulled in favor of Antti Raanta, who lasted only the second period before departing with a lower-body injury. Raanta was unscored upon in nine shots.

Kochetkov stopped all 10 shots in the third period.

“Obviously, he wasn’t happy with what happened (and) not thinking he was going to have to get back in there,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “And he plays great. Has to be a real big confidence booster for him.”

Colorado’s Zach Parise, a recent free-agent acquisition, and Samuel Girard scored in a seven-second span in the final minute of the first period. Alexandar Georgiev surrendered the hat trick on just four shots but ended up with 22 saves.

Necas has 16 goals this season, including seven in the last seven games since returning from an injury.

“He’s a talent,” Brind’Amour said. “We know that.”

For his first goal Thursday, Necas gained possession in his own end, weaved through the neutral zone and kept going until launching a shot that Georgiev mishandled, allowing the puck to bounce into the net 1:52 into the game.

“Kind of a lucky bounce, but that’s what happens when you shoot the puck,” Necas said. “I’ve become more of a shooter the last few games.”

Necas’ second goal came at 6:25, and he scored again late in the period after he took a pass from Teravianen in front of the net. Necas immediately broke into a grin before hugging Teravianen as fans tossed hats onto the ice.

The Avalanche scored twice in the last 27 seconds of the first period. Parise, playing his third game for Colorado in his 19th NHL season, scored off a rush when the teams were skating 4-on-4. Off the ensuing face-off, Girard launched a shot from just across the mid-ice stripe and Kochetkov whiffed on gloving the puck.

“We get our first bounce and we’re right back in the game,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

That prompted Carolina’s goalie change at the intermission. But Kochetkov returned for the final period and as the winning goalie tied Raanta for the team lead with 12 wins apiece.

The Avalanche, which went 0-for-6 on power plays, dropped to 0-2-1 since the All-Star break.

“Just felt like we were under duress the whole night on the power play and we didn’t have a solution,” Bednar said.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At Florida on Saturday.

Hurricanes: Host New Jersey on Saturday.

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