Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Avalanche Squeeze Past Oilers 4-3 in SO

Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, you'll have to cut me a break if I missed something good as it's election night here in Saskatchewan. So I was flipping back and forth between the game and the results coverage. It was official by halfway through the 2nd period though so if I miss something there...I've got no excuse.

First Period
In the interest of keeping this brief, I'll quickly outline the goals since there were 5 of the darn things.

The game started off good as the Avs got on the board first. The fourth line was out providing some good energy and got rewarded for it. Jeff Finger took a shot from the point and Lappy provided a soft deflection to put it between Roloson's pads. Roloson knew he should have had that one. Stick down Roli!

Edmonton was able to answer back just over 5 minutes later. A bit of a scrambly play out front and Kyle Brodziak was able to put the puck past Budaj to tie it at 1.

Then 3 minutes later, Colorado scored a goal and I completely missed this one. And didn't have the energy to rewind. I hope you all forgive me. It was Arnason getting his 3rd of the year with assists from Bruno and Lappy.

Then about 30 seconds later, the ping-pong game continued as Dick Tjarnstom buried a shot high blocker on Budaj. Budaj was out challenging pretty well but may have lost his position a bit. It was a pretty darn good shot though.

And a minute later, Edmonton took the lead as Ales Hemsky did his magic again. He danced around Kurt Sauer - seriously, Sauer never even touched him - and buried a shot on the far side just over Budaj's pad. Hemsky has some sweet moves but Sauer still should have been able to plaster him. Hemsky's known for big goals and being on the receiving end of big hits.

Second Period
Ok, let's jump in halfway through the action as I was listening to concession and victory speeches from the NDP and Sask Party respectively.

The Oilers got a PP chance at the 12:41 mark. The reason for the penalty...Cumiskey is the David to Penner's Goliath. These two were battling on the boards and the only chance Cumiskey had at winning was to hold on to Penner's stick. Or kick him in the shins. That's frowned upon though. The Oil generated a few chances but couldn't cash in. For a terrible PP, they looked not bad tonight.

At this point, the Oilers were really starting to take over the play in this period. The Avs initially had a 9-1 shot advantage but ended the period with a 12-9 advantage. The boxscore was wrong on the shots, at least according to TSN's numbers.

Wolski had the Avs best chance of the period as he took a shortside feed but Roloson was not fooled. That move - circle the net but backhand a pass to the shortside rather than go around the net - has really become prominent this year. In fact, it was Marty Turco's subject on CBC's little vignette of "That's Hockey" on HNIC last weekend. At least I think it's called "That's Hockey". Give me a break, I'm not sleeping much lately.

Peter Budaj then had his own opportunity to bail his team out as he came up huge on two different occasions. The first was a big save on Hemsky who danced around the defenders again. Liles made a heads up play to clear the puck which was looking to trickle into the net. He then made a huge save on one of those backdoor shortside passes from Nilson to Torres. Man I hate Torres. Just wanted to throw that in.

Third Period
The Avs go into the third down by 1 but they wouldn't live with that for long. Just 2:20 in and Ian Laperriere picks up his 2nd goal of the night. Andrew Brunette put in some hard work along the boards and that'll always pay off. He was able to dump it back to Arnason who then fired it at the net. Lappy was going hard to the net - that'll always pay off too - and it went off his stick and in.

Healy, as he always does, began complaining about goaltender interference since Lappy's stick got up in Roloson's grill. Only problem...the puck was in before Lappy touched Roloson. And he apologized after so it's all good.

The tempo really picked up after this goal and frankly there was so much action that my eyes were glued to the television and I wasn't taking notes. Budaj came up with some solid saves during this action to keep the tie going. His most notable was a slick glove save on Torres after Hemsky danced in around the D again. I'm noticing a theme here with Hemsky. He tends to make the Avalanche defenders know what...when he plays them.

The Oil then got an early PP on a Paul Stastny high-stick. This was one that the Avalanche got very lucky on as it should have been a long 5-on-3. About 30 seconds into the PP, Wyatt Smith took down Grebeshkov in a blatant trip, right in front of the ref...and no call. Mac T was livid and I don't blame him.

Sauer even made up for his play tonight as he sprawled to stop a late 2-on-1 with Hemsky and Stoll. That could have been the game right there. Sauer did not have a good night tonight as Hemsky exposed his slowness on many occasions.

Overtime was a prototypical OT. A few chances on each end but no team really having a ton of sustained pressure. I fear too many teams are playing for the shootout these days but I have absolutely no stats or even any solid logic to back it up. I just fear it. And I can fear whatever I want. Including large spiders and small birds.

After a ridiculous delay thanks to the Oilers "not liking the ice", the shootout began.

Wolski starts it and basically turns Roloson inside out with a sweet, sweet move.

Gagner is denied.

Smyth is stoned by Roloson who seemed to know exactly what Smyth would do. I wonder why?

Hemsky tries low-blocker again and misses the net. Try something else Ales!

Sakic for the win and...denied by the post! He had Roli beat glove high but that darn post got in the way.

Torres to tie it...5-hole on a quick release. Man I hate Torres.

Svatos to put the pressure on the Oil and...he basically lobs it over Roloson's glove. Weird looking goal but whatever gets it in the back of the net.

Reasoner to keep the SO going and...MISS! The Avs win the SO and push their home record to 8-1.

Odds and Ends
- Sakic kept trying 5-hole on Roloson but had no luck
- Finger plastered Penner along the boards in the 2nd period
- both teams did a good job staying out of the box with just 8 penalties between both teams
- Svatos has been making good defensive reads lately
- Hemsky loves going low-blocker on goaltenders
- 5 goals in 9:52 of the 1st, then no more until 2:20 of the 3rd...crazy night!
- the Avs are now 6-2 against divisional opponents
- they are also 1st in the Northwest!

Ian Laperriere was the beast of the night with 2 goals and 1 assist. The third line was in on all the Avs goals and was a combined +7 with 7 points.

Brett Clark had monster minutes of 28:43 tonight. I didn't notice him that much so with that amount of ice-time, that can only be a good thing. Sauer was next with 23:49. I noticed him a lot. And that's not a good thing.

Scott Parker was at the low end with just 56 seconds on the ice. Seriously. Q sits Hlinka in order to give Parker 56 seconds of ice time. I may not be an NHL coach but that just seems ridiculous.

Sakic, Hannan and Smyth were -2 on the night. Aren't those our most defensively responsible players. What gives?

Sakic blasted off 8 shots. Each one going for the 5-hole I think.

The Avs were credited with 6 hits. And this was on home turf! But they only gave Finger 1 hit, likely his one on Penner, even though I'm positive he hit more guys than that.

Related Links Gamesheet
TSN Recap Recap
In the Cheap Seats Game Notes
Hannan Unfazed by +/-
Richardson Cleared to Play