Sunday, November 11, 2007

Avalanche Defeat Wild 4-2

I'm a bit late getting this out as I was at Remembrance Day ceremonies while the game was on. But the ol' PVR doesn't care if I'm at home or not, it'll record the show no matter what. It's probably not good to love an inanimate object but...I can't help it.

The Avalanche improved to 9-1 at home tonight as they took it to a Gaborik-and-Demtria-less Wild. I was surprised to see Backstrom in as I heard he injured his groin. Hopefully his miraculous recovery didn't involve any needles in...that...area...ouch.

First Period
What a dull start to this game. The Wild iced the puck about 8 billion times to start things off. Ok, it was about half a dozen but still.

After the Wild got all the icings out of their system, the game started to have some flow to it. The Avalanche got some good chances but had trouble finding the net. Seriously. Wolski and Brunette both had wide open cages but couldn't put it home. Wolski looked like he was going to bite the head off a chicken as he headed to the bench. He definitely should have had that one.

The Avs then took the first penalty of the game as Brunette headed off for hooking. They did an ace job killing off that penalty though and things were looking good for the PK.

Ryan Smyth decided to put that to the test as he took a penalty shortly after the Brunette one had ended. And again, a good kill. Way to go PK!

To make up for his penalty, Ryan Smyth got the first goal of the game. Hannan had the puck at the point, fired a pass/shot towards the net which Smyth promptly snagged on his backhand, moved it to his forehand and put it past a confused Nik Backstrom. Great goal.

Second Period
The Avs got an early PP as "blank" went off for the Wild. Seriously, it showed as nothing on the game summary as I was writing this. 2 hours after the game ended, one of the 2 games in this hectic night of hockey had obvious errors in the scoresheet. Kind of sad.

Nothing doing on that PP but the Avs got another chance as Sheppard went off for holding. Hejduk had a great chance off a beauty feed from behind the net but Backstrom was right there to gobble it up. Then Paul Stastny was able to avenge that nice save off a scramble in front. With Backstrom spread-eagled in the crease, Stastny shoveled the puck over top for a 2-0 lead.

The Wild answered back with their own PP goal less than 5 minutes later. With Hanna in the box for tripping, Eric Belanger was able to put one past Budaj to keep the game from running away. It was a bizarre goal too. Rolston took a shot which went wide, bounced onto the crossbar, then onto Budaj's arm, then to the ice where Belanger was able to poke it home. You don't see one like that too often.

But Paul Stastny would have none of that. "1 goal leads are for wusses" he declared shortly before flying down the ice with Wolski in tow. He then cut back to the middle, used the Wild defenders and Wolski as a screen and fired the puck past Backstrom. This kid loves playing at home this year as 18 of his 19 points have come at home.

Things were looking good as the Avs were about to take a 2-goal lead into the third. That is until Jaroslav Hlinka got called for tripping with just 17 seconds to play. 12 seconds later, the puck was in the back of the net as Nummelin fed a great pass to Bouchard who wired it home. Whoops.

Third Period
It was at this point that may desired to play my new Nintendo DS started getting the better of me. And I have no regrets as the DS is amazingly fun! Nonetheless, I may have missed a play or two here or there so be gentle.

The Avalanche got an early PP to try and go up by two goals again. They got some solid pressure going but their best chances came when they got the puck back to the point to create more space. Let's face it, cycling down low is fun and kills the clock but it's damn tough to work in such a confined space.

Tyler Arnason then had a great rush which led to him getting hauled down to draw a penalty. He hung around on the ice a bit longer than I would like but maybe he was a bit winded. Sure, let's go with that. I'm one of those guys where if you're not bleeding profusely from your eyeballs, you get the hell back up and into the play ASAP. None of this "lying around looking for a penalty" stuff. Ok...calm down, Shane.

Nothing materialized on the PP and the Wild really started pressing for the tying goal. You know what doesn't help when trying to tie the game? Taking a penalty with just under 2 minutes left to play. That's what Radivojevic did and it cost the Wild dearly.

The Avalanche applied good pressure to keep Backstrom in the net. Once he was able to get out, it was just 5-on-5 with an empty net. The Avalanche had a fairly easy task at getting up the ice and getting an empty-netter. Stastny tossed it towards the net and Wolski dumped the rebound in. That assist got Stastny to the 100-point mark in 99 games. Not too shabby.

And it gave the Avs a 4-2 win over a divisional opponent.

Odds and Ends
- Hejduk had his afterburners on tonight!
- Laperriere left the game after a weird collision with a Wild D-man in the 2nd
- Hannan had a good game tonight
- Wolski continues to finish his checks on nearly ever play: I love it!
- Svatos was a non-factor tonight
- Budaj had a solid game and was the 3rd star

Hannan led the way in ice-time again with 23:43. Clark was next with 22:02 followed closely by Sakic and Smyth with 21:24 and 21:13 respectively.

Clark was a +2 with 8 blocked shots. That's right, 8. Hannan had 4 blocked shots and Liles had 3.

Stastny was 67% in the faceoff circle tonight which is more than acceptable. The team finished at 63% which is shocking. I think that's the first time they won the overall faceoff game this season. Tyler Arnason led the way going 10 for 14. Double shock.

Related Links
In the Cheap Seats Recap
Mile High Hockey Recap
TSN Recap Recap Scoresheet


Mike Thompson said...

"Wolski looked like he was going to bite the head off a chicken as he headed to the bench."

What exactly does that look like, I wonder?

Svats was a non-factor due to starting on the 4th line and spending all but a handful of shifts on the bench in the 3rd. Coach Q. strikes again.

Shane Giroux said...

Something like this:
Ozzy vs Kermit

Except with a chicken instead of Kermit :)

Yeah, Svatos isn't going to score from there. It's a tough situation in terms of line juggling since there are 7 forwards who can be on the top 2 lines.

Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk should stay and I think Brunette did just fine on the third line with Svatos looking good on the top line. So I'm not too sure why Q wanted to juggle things again.