Post-game vs Anaheim - Jan 13, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Post-game vs Anaheim - Jan 13, 2007

It was a repeat of the last time these 2 met as the Avalanche pulled out another SO win against the Ducks, putting them away by a final score of 3-2. This game saw 2 different goaltenders from last game and one of those goaltenders absolutely stole the show. Thankfully it was the Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj who bailed his team out of another poor defensive performance. He ended the night with 38 saves, 15 alone in the 3rd, and was 2-for-3 in the shootout.

Anytime a goaltender ends the night with 40 shots against and comes away with a win, you are officially able to declare that they stole the game. I was able to tune in to half the game on the live Yahoo stream and, as I squinted at the tiny window, it became obvious that the Avs were getting outplayed and Budaj was bailing them out. In particular, his spread eagle save towards the end of the third was huge and had me believing that the Avs would at least steal a point from this game.

In overtime, Wolski had a great chance to end the game as he was sprung on a break. He was able to get Bryzgalov to commit but then put the puck wide to everyone's dismay. And by everyone, I am referring to the people in the arena. There seemed to be a lot of Avalanche fans in Anaheim tonight. But, even though he missed his opportunity there, he gets credit for putting up the go-ahead goal in the second off a rebound created by Joe Sakic. I had just got home and turned on the game about a minute before that happened. Coincidence? I think not.

Tonight was Brad Richardson's return after 3 games in the AHL and he ended up with 13 minutes, 2 penalties and one shot on goal. Not exactly a stellar performance but he's still maturing. He was given some ice-time in OT and was putting on a good forechecking performance which is what he's expected to do.

Anti Laaksonen was also back in the lineup tonight and promptly ended the night with a -2 rating as did Rycroft and Arnason. When you're on the ice for all the opposition goals, the coach can't really be blamed in limiting your ice-time. To his credit, Arnason was flying out there tonight and he got off 4 shots. But shots don't offset goals against so it was officially a bad night for him.

Kyle Cumiskey gets the 2nd point of his career tonight as he played alongside Kurt Sauer again. Although I'm liking Cumiskey's play, he and Sauer are not gelling terribly well. They're both fairly inexperienced (yes, Sauer is inexperienced no matter how long he's been around) which is just a bad combination. You can see they aren't communicating very well with each other as they try to decide who is taking the front of the net and who is taking the puck in the corner. Their inexperience just happened to lead to the tying goal. Sauer was forechecked, gave up the puck, then Cumiskey left his man out front to chase the puck carrier as Sauer tried to circle around to the fron. End result was a wide open Duck for the easy goal. I really think they need to mix that pair up with the Vaananen-Klee pairing.

The defensive pairing of Skrastins and Clark got the bulk of the play tonight as they each put up around 27 minutes. They both made some very good defensive plays towards the end of the third including a diving block by Clark (I believe) to prevent what could very well have ended up as a goal. It's great to see these two guys step up and get elite level ice-time. By no means am I declaring those two as elite D-men but they certainly are showing the ability to step up for the Avalanche who are sorely in need of some leadership on the backend right now.

Andrew Brunette scored a beautiful goal to open the scoring and was also on the ice for the Avs 2nd goal. For some strange reason though, he barely saw the ice in the 2nd period. Judging by the shift chart, he got maybe 2 minutes of ice time spread over 4 short shifts. I'm not sure if he was nursing an injury or if Q purposely cut his ice-time. I'm not sure why he would do that since Bruno is not the guy who seems to take off any shifts. He was back on regular shifts by third period so whatever it was got taken care of.

The penalty kill looked very solid tonight which was a pleasent change. They were being more aggressive and seemed to realize that they have to watch more than just the puck carrier. They ended up killing all 4 penalty kill opportunites by the Ducks, who are the 3rd best team in the league on the power play. A big key to shutting down that powerplay is shutting down Selanne, who leads the league in power play goals. Another key is having Lapperiere and Skrastins being shot blocking machines out there. Skrastins had 6 blocked shots and Laperriere had 1 officially but I would debate that. I counted at least 3 in the time I was watching.

The power play on the other hand appeared a bit weak. Granted, they only had two chances and I only watched one, but the one I saw was a very weak attempt. They managed one shot and were hardly able to even get set up in the offensive zone. The problem is they have trouble carrying the puck in and maintaining possession. And the reason they carry the puck in rather than dump it in is they don't have the grit to battle in the corners to get control of the puck. But hey, at least they didn't give up any shorthanded goals.

The Good
- beating the #1 team in the NHL
- 100% PK
- Budaj stealing the game

The Bad
- needing Budaj to steal the game
- weak PP
- poor defensive coverage

The Ugly
- 40 shots against

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

good review. Also in the shootout:

Wolski came up with a creative fake of a slap shot then a goal - keep this kid as one of the Avs three shootout skaters. He's only missed one time in the shootout.

Svatos has yet to score a shootout goal but came really close in this game. A good move to fake out the goalie and then hit the post.

Sakic got stopped in the shootout, using the same move I saw him score so easily on vs the Wings a few days earlier. Still a great threat in the shootout and I expect a different move next time.

Hejduk got the shootout winner, and has done better in shootouts this year (as have the avs). Next time we'll probably see the shootout tandem of Wolski, Hejduk, and Sakic.

Why no Selanne in the shootout for the Ducks?

Good to see the Avs perform much better in the shootout this year. And good to see the Avs get this game to overtime, as they've blown a few 1 goal and tie games this season in the 3rd period.

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