Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Avalanche Rough Up Oilers 4-2

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Well that was better. After a 4-day layoff, the Avalanche were able to convincingly win a hockey game. Sure, it was against Edmonton, who are now 4-0 against the Avs this year, but you need to win the games you're supposed to win.

First Period
I missed the majority of the first period due to inattention when setting my PVR to record the game. It must have warned me that I had other programs set to record at the same time but I'm so used to just clicking "Ok" that I never noticed the warning. Oops.

It was a good start to the game as just 4:14 in, Hejduk banged home a loose puck with Hlinka gathering an assist on the play.

Then just 25 seconds later, Stastny and Hejduk broke in, Stastny fed Hejduk who spotted Clark coming in. He fed a perfect pass to Clark who one-timed it into the back of the net. Up 2-0 before the period was even 5 minutes old!

Kyle Brodziak had a great chance to halve that lead but rang it off the crossbar.

Second Period
The Oilers had a penalty parade in this period, taking 5 minor penalties with 4 being assessed within a span of 7 minutes. One was offsetting minors but it still counts ;) And how did the PP fare? Well by golly they scored a goal!

On the first PP chance, they were moving the puck around decently. They were using the point more for cycling and seemed to avoid playing the corners. Thankfully. Wolski was out on the point again and the juries still out on him playing there. He hasn't done it enough to produce points or get horribly torched.

On the second chance, Joe Sakic found himself wide open. And I do mean wide. He had a good 2 seconds to set himself for the shot and when he did, that thing flew off his stick with smoke trails behind it and found its way through Roloson's five-hole.

On the third opportunity, Brunette had a great chance but couldn't cash it in. So in the span of the 3 penalties, the PP unit looked half decent. Scoring chances generated, a goal scored, just one shortie chance given up. Not shabby compared to what it looked like for the last 5 games.

The Avalanche then put the game pretty much out of reach as they capitalized on an Oiler turnover. Kyle Cumiskey snagged the puck at the Avs blueline, fed it to Sakic who broke in with Wojtek Wolski. A quick pass and one-timer and it was 4-0 Avalanche. I could not have been happier. Well, someone could have pounded on Torres for a while and that might have made me a bit happier.

The Avalanche got a late PP opportunity to close out the period. Sakic was back on the point again. For some reason. I really don't think he belongs there unless it's to sneak him in to the high slot as often as possible. Too often he's just stuck at the blueline playing tag with the other D.

Third Period
Ok, 4-0 going into the third would seem to make for a boring final 20 minutes. However Mac T was able to fire up his squad and they made a game of it. Switching Garon in for Roloson may have had something to do with it. If I was an Oiler, I'd be pissed at hanging Roloson out to dry like that and would be looking for some redemption.

8:15 in, Raffi Torres grabbed a Cumiskey turnover and was able to jam it under Budaj's pads to break the shutout. This came about a minute after Ferraro mentioned that Budaj hadn't had a shutout yet this year. Well played, Ray.

The Oil kept putting some pressure on the Avalanche though nothing that made you too frightened. At 14:11, Shawn Horcoff tipped a Grebeshkov point shot to make it a 2 goal lead with plenty of time left.

The Oilers pulled Garon with around 2 minutes left to play. They got some sustained pressure going on the Avs and had a chance or two but it wasn't their night. Make it 10-2 for the Avalanche at home!

Odds and Ends
- much less close-in cycling in the corners this game
- Hannan was playing pretty physical tonight
- Roloson played a great game
- but he's still a little b*tch when players get near the crease
- Hemsky was well-contained this game
- Cody McCormick and Zak Stortini were thorns in each other's sides all night
- Hejduk's interview in the 2nd intermission nearly put me to sleep
- Staios and Smyth had a mini-battle going all night
- Richardson was down on the 4th line and basically a non-factor except on the PK
- Skrastins was a scratch and Cumiskey was back in

Brett Clark had a huge night with 26:39 in ice-time, far and away the leader for the Avs. Sauer was next with 22:52.

The Avalanche outshot the Oilers 43-13. Marek Svatos led the way with 6, Brett Clark and Tyler Arnason had 5 each and Sakic and McCormick (wha?!?!) each had 4.

The Duke had 1 goal and 2 assists on the night. Sakic had 1 goal and 1 assist while Stastny chipped in with 2 helpers.

Hannan ended the night at -1 with just 17:03 in ice-time. He had a couple turnovers but I thought he played a good, physical game.

Related Links Event Summary
In the Cheap Seats Recap
TSN Recap Recap
Jerseys and Hockey Love Recap (another game Tapelage was at - lots o' photos!)