Avalanche Bounce Back With 2-1 Win Over Flyers - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Friday, December 7, 2007

Avalanche Bounce Back With 2-1 Win Over Flyers

(Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Now that's what I call a hockey game. From start to finish the Avalanche, led by the fourth line (that's right), played a solid hockey game. And I would have said that even if the Flyers got the tying goal in the third.

Theodore was solid in goal including making a game changing stop on a Mike Richards breakaway to keep the game knotted at zero. Hannan and the defense played a solid game, the fourth line provided tons of energy and offense and the first line were always a threat.

The penalty kill was superb in killing off 5 penalties against the 4th ranked PP in the league. The powerplay still left a bit to be desired but they didn't look terrible.

So nearly every aspect of the game was solid from start to finish and that's how you win hockey games. Nothing complex, just getting the basics right.

First Period
The Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk line stayed together and were the opening line tonight. Good to see Q keeping this crew together.

Ben Guite took an early holding penalty to send the Avs onto the PK. And it was good. They put pressure on the puck carriers and never gave them a second to get set up. At that point, I felt very confident about this game.

About halfway through the period, the Avs started tossing the body around as a pre-emptive strike against the Flyers. Led by McCormick, Finger and Smyth, the Avs knocked a few Flyers to the ice and gave the fans something to get excited about.

Ryan Smyth generated a solid chance bulling in towards the net and feeding a good pass to Richardson. Biron was up to the task as he was for much of the night. Shortly after Brett Clark then blocked a hard shot off the front of his foot but it didn't seem to bother him. I guess those extra guards some defencemen wear work pretty well. Oh, and Steve Downie totally fanned on a great drop pass. I laughed.

The team then took a too many men penalty and got another chance to showcase their skills. The best skill showcased was when Hannan absolutely flattened Jeff Carter as he tried to get past him along the boards. Carter lost his helmet on the play and looked a bit shocked at what happened. The crowd was really getting into it at this point and it was another solid kill.

Sami Kapanen then took a hooking penalty to give the Avs their first powerplay chance. It was...ok. Hensick made a great play on the way into the zone dropping to Liles but Biron was there with the glove. Liles made a terrible pass at one point that went directly to a Flyers D - under no pressure - and the D then dumped it down the ice.

Second Period
Scott Hartnell started off the period by running over Jose Theodore and heading to the sin bin. And then good ol' Jimmie Dowd took a hooking penalty to give the Avs a 5-on-3 opportunity for about 30 seconds. They didn't get much done and shortly after going back to a 5-on-4 chance, Mike Richards nearly turned the tide of the game. He made a terrific read on a pass to Hejduk and sprang open. And I mean O.P.E.N. He had all the time in the world but Theodore stayed right with him and denied him from going five-hole. A huge, huge save.

McCormick then turned into McCrusher and laid out a Flyers D after an outlet pass. And the crowd roared their approval and it made me smile to see the fans into the game like that.

Karlis Skrastins then played Daniel Briere very oddly but Theodore was there with a save. Skrastins looked almost scared and not sure whether he should take the man (YES!), take away the pass, or get the hell out of the way. So he kind of did all three at once and failed at all of them.

Shortly after those 2 solid saves by Theodore, Hlinka broke down his off wing on a nice feed from Brunette and buried a shot on the near side over Biron. It was a pinpoint shot and was a very Hejduk-style goal. *Ding* off the post and in. Love that sound.

Hannan then took a holding penalty and gave the Flyers yet another chance on the PP. Joffrey Lupul ran into Theodore but got away with it. Ben Guite put in a supreme effort to kill off some precious extra seconds by diving at the puck and the continuing to go after it. Theodore then sent the puck towards the glass and Hejduk got it with his stick and sent it over the glass. And he ended up the in the box.

Now, I understand the whole delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass penalty. Understand. Not agree. But I need to go read exactly how that rule is worded. If the puck has already been shot and gets tipped over, then that's a tip over the glass and not a shot over the glass. Whatever, Flyers 5-on-3 and the Avs were up to the task and killed it off.

Later in the period, Clark took a hooking penalty and the Flyers finally cashed in. After Timmonen had blasted a few shots, he faked this one and fed a wide open Briere who had all the time in the world to feed the puck into the open net.

The Avs then had a late PP opportunity and I thought "Wouldn't it be great if..." and before that thought had run through my head...they did it! Smyth fed Hejduk from behind the net and Hejduk buried it past Biron to put the Avs up by one heading into the third.

Third Period
This was a different third period for the Avalanche. After giving up a two goal lead on Wednesday, they seemed determined to not let that happen again. Marek Svatos, in one of his limited shifts, had a great chance early but Biron denied him.

Wolski had an even better chance but Biron snow eagled for the save. On the replay, you could see the puck went right under Biron and into the crease and a Flyers D then directed the puck back under Biron for the whistle.

Rory Fitzpatrick nabbed himself a delay of game penalty as he blatantly knocked the net off while Stastny was circling around. And then during the powerplay, Timmonen knocked the net off even more blatantly and got away with it. That was a case of the ref putting the whistle in his pocket and not wanting to "help decide the game."

The Flyers then started to pour on some pressure but the Avalanche were up to the task. Theodore made some solid saves and the Avs were able to maintain composure and not start running around too much in their own zone.

The Avs then applied some pressure of their own, mostly thanks to the fourth line, and had a couple decent chances.

They continued to kill time well while not getting too lackadaisical and sitting back on the lead. However the Flyers were still confident enough to pull Biron with over a minute and half left to go. And who was there to help out? The fourth line of Guite-Richardson-McCormick. And it wasn't just a reward for that line, it was actually the best line to have out there at the time.

After Mike Richards made a rather odd play by trying for a shot from his own blueline with nearly 10 seconds still left, there was a Flyers zone faceoff with 5 seconds left. The Flyers bench wanted to make sure that the clock had been stopped at the right moment and got a full 0.2 seconds added back to it. It was ridiculous as they would need at least 7 seconds to get up the ice and the timekeeper was not that slow.

And so the time runs out and the Avalanche have a solid rebound game after a devestating loss.

- Laperriere sat out after tweaking his knee against Columbus
- Smyth was creamed by Hatcher late in the 2nd and was slow getting up and off the ice
- Hatcher also snapped on Richardson which made him look like a giant bully
- Cumiskey has some amazing wheels when he turns the jets on
- I still wish Richardson wouldn't be on the fourth line all the time
- Hannan was a decent choice for mic'ing up as he actually said things other than "Yeah!" and "Whoo!"
- Downie had a full 5:38 on the ice and really did nothing with it
- Scott Hannan had a very solid game tonight
- Ben Guite showed tonight why he is valuable to this team

Scott Hannan was the ice-time leader with 25:21 in ice-time. Paul Stastny was just behind him with 24:48 as he also had a monster game. T.J. Hensick and Marek Svatos were on the low end of the scale with 8:31 and 8:24 respectively.

Ben Guite fired off 5 shots while Richardson and Hejduk had 4 each. Paul Stastny didn't actually register a shot tonight but he was still a force out there.

Finger and McCormick dished out 3 hits but Ryan Smyth led the way with 4. But I trust those hit statistics less and less each game.

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
TSN Recap
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
In the Cheap Seats Game Notes

1 Comment:

Draft Dodger said...

nice to see that what happens in Columbus stays in Columbus.

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