Seeing Darcy Tucker injured on a check into the boards was bad enough. Colorado coach Joe Sacco tried to make sure things didn't get any worse, urging his team to rein in its emotions after seeing Tucker taken off the ice on a backboard.
The talk seemed to refocus the Avalanche, with Milan Hejduk and Wojtek Wolski scoring goals in quick succession after Tucker's injury and Colorado went on to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 on Friday night.
"You can go two ways there," Avalanche captain Adam Foote said. "Joe grabbed the guys and told them to regain their composure and not go running around trying to get guys back.
"You can lose your whole team on a hit like that, end up in the box and lose the two points. It's probably a good thing [Carolina forward Tuomo Ruutu] got the major and got kicked out of the game."
Tucker was hurt when Ruutu slammed him into the boards as he tried to play the puck in the Hurricanes' end at 14:34 of the second period.
Tucker's face hit the glass hard and he fell to the ice on his back unconscious as Avalanche doctors and trainers attended to him, bringing a hush to both benches and the crowd.
Medical personnel applied a neck brace before strapping the forward to a backboard. Tucker appeared to regain consciousness as he was moved off the ice, revealing a pool of blood where he had been laying for more than five minutes.
The team said Tucker had a concussion but was alert and taken to the hospital for further treatment and evaluation.
Ruutu was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct, and Hejduk scored on the subsequent power play, converting a feed from Paul Stastny to put the Avalanche up 3-2 at 10 minutes of the second period.
Forty seconds later, Wolski scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season, one-timing a shot off a pass behind the net from Chris Stewart.
"After what happened there, we got two goals and got momentum in the game," Stastny said. "First and foremost, I'll keep him in my thoughts."
Carolina coach Paul Maurice said he didn't see Ruutu's hit on Tucker.
"All I can say is the league will take care of looking at it and I'm a huge, huge Darcy Tucker supporter and I hope he's OK. I really do," said Maurice, who coached Tucker with Toronto.
He added that Ruutu's hit also cost the Hurricanes.
"We missed him," Maurice said. "There's no question. On the road, to lose a forward like that, we missed him."
Carolina, trying for its first win in five road games, pulled within one on Matt Cullen's goal at 16:15 of the second period and was in position to tie it early in the third period when Ray Whitney was awarded a penalty shot after David Jones interfered with his path to the net from behind.
Whitney rushed up to net and let loose a shot from up close that goalie Craig Anderson blocked by getting his stick out front and dropping to his knees.
Anderson had 32 saves on the night while making his 10th consecutive start to open the season, a franchise record. He had his seventh win this month, tying the team record for most wins in October.