Avalanche Downed 4-1 by Blue Jackets - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Avalanche Downed 4-1 by Blue Jackets

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
There was no vindication tonight for the Colorado Avalanche who continue to have trouble winning games on the road. After the two straight wins a lot of people could certainly feel confident coming into this game. After the Blues game a lot of folks thought Columbus might be a bit afraid actually which I'm quite certain they weren't.

The Avalanche had some jump in this game and got some decent chances. Unfortunately they were hampered by mediocre goaltending and a team with more drive and physicality than the Avalanche could bring.

Continue all for all the gory details.

First Period
The game starts out with some fast-pace, end-to-end action from each team with nothing coming about on the scoresheet. Around the 3 minute mark Tyler Arnason drew a hooking penalty and the Avalanche were able to get a good scoring chance on the delayed call. Unfortunately during that chance, Tyler Arnason got his stick up so he and Klesla went off for some 4-on-4 action.

And if there weren't enough end-to-end rushes before, there were plenty during the 4-on-4. It was almost like a practice where each side got a chance to perform one rush before turning it around to defend against one. There were 3-on-1s for each side that weren't converted but it was some exciting action!

At this point, Rostislav Klesla gave us his "keys to the game". They were: shut down the big line, use speed on the D, have good special teams. His mom actually had the best one in which her key was to "score more". When was the last time that a key to the game wasn't some trite, generic bunk that can be said about any opponent? Do they ever say things like "Go high glove on Theodore" or "Put pressure on Hannan with the puck and he'll turn it over". That would be a key to *this* game. The rest are just keys to the sport of hockey in general.

Shortly after that, Arnason dogged a backcheck. If I kept making a note of those though, I'd run out of room on the Internet.

Columbus got close on a good give-and-go chance with Chimera and Zherdev but the shot went off the side of the net. Good job by Theodore on swinging over and giving him nothing to shoot at.

T.J. Hensick then gave a terribly feeble attempt at clearing the puck which led to the first goal of the game. Fritsche jumped all over it, fended off some pressure then dumped it out front to Malhotra who chipped it over Theodore's shoulder. Welcome back, Manny. Glad the Avalanche could be there for you.

Very shortly after John Liles broke up a sure goal as he stopped a cross crease pass which would have easily been deposited into a gaping net.

We were then told that Columbus is 11-2-4 when scoring first. Super.

Hensick was back on the ice for the next shift after causing that goal. And I've got no problem with that at all. I was growing tired of the "Make a mistake? You're benched" attitude that the coaches seemed to have. The idea should be "Make a mistake? Don't make it again. Now get back out there and give 'em hell."

Colorado got their best chance on a brief rush with Hlinka and Svatos. Hlinka made some good moves into the zone then fed it back to Svatos who missed the net by a country mile. Which is the same as a city mile for all you city folk. It's kind of a weird phrase actually.

Second Period
One shot on goal for Columbus. One goal for Columbus. I could just leave it at that but I'm a sucker for writing.

Early in the period Liles made a good pinch to keep the puck in play. He then fired a shot which Norrena saved but the rebound went out to Andrew Brunette who then fed a wide open Guite at the top of the paint and he got the easiest goal of his career to tie the game at 1.

The Avalanche started spreading out the Jackets with a lot of cross-ice passes and seemed to want to slow the game down a bit. After the torrid pace of the first period, I think Columbus was ok with that prospect.

Mike Peca rang one off the post which kept the Jackets off the score clock but showed they were still in this one.

Just past the halfway mark they got their first shot on goal and they made it count. Jared Boll grabbed the puck and fired a blast which deflected off Hannan's shin pad and into the net.

Tyler Arnason stole the puck on the backcheck and the Avs got a decent scoring chance. Arnason deflected a rebound off the crossbar but it wouldn't have counted anyways as his stick was above the crossbar. The announcers were incredulous that the whistle wasn't blown after that play. I'm not sure why. No Avalanche player touched the puck after so I don't see why play shouldn't have continued.

The Avalanche then killed off their first penalty of the game as Svatos sat for delaying the game by shooting the puck over the glass. Still the worst rule ever.

Frederik Norrena made the best save of the game late in the period as he denied a pinching Clark on a cross-ice feed. Good movement and good control while sliding across to stop the shot.

Third Period
Wojtek Wolski applied some excellent forecheck pressure, stole the puck, fed Svatos and he fired the puck wide. Adam Foote then made a good skate svae on Andrew Brunette off a feed from Wolski.

The Avalanche applied some good pressure to start off the period but the chances just didn't seem to be going their way.

Guite took a penalty at the midway point that had the announcers screaming for blood. Guite went towards Nash as if to hit him then turned away at the last second. As he did that, his skate caught Nash's and slough-footed him. Now, I'm 99.9% certain that Guite did not mean to do that. However the announcers wanted at least 5 minutes and possible a match penalty for intent to injure. Dramatic much, guys?

Theodore made a couple decent saves to help kill off the penalty and I was hoping that might help get things really going for the Avalanche.

Unfortunately it was the Jackets who got on the scoreboard next. Kris Beech had a great effort down low as he crushed and then schooled Finger along the boards. He then turned around and fired a backhander that got past a screened Jose Theodore. With a 2 goal lead and only 5 minutes left, I started planning the rest of my night.

Then to top it all off my feed cut out with 2 minutes left but I wasn't too concerned. It came back just as the game expired with C0lumbus winning 4-1 after a Federov empty netter.

- Jared Boll was a wrecking boll out there (get it? boll...ball...*gong*)
- Hlinka has some super accurate passes
- It's amazing what Hitchcock has done with Rick Nash
- Svatos missed the net on two close range shots tonight
- the FSN announcers make even simple dump in plays sound exciting
- as a consequence they're overly dramatic (i.e. the Guite penalty)
- Q will likely put Budaj in goal next game


Paul Stastny was the ice-time leader with a whopping 24:59 tonight. Hejduk was next with 23:42 and then Smyth with 22:42. Ok, Hannan had one second more than Smyth but that doesn't lend itself as well to saying "Holy crap, look at the ice-time for the #1 line tonight!" And that should happen the way that trio has played lately.

As a consequence, other players saw their ice-time drop. Hlinka and Wolski were the only other forwards to crack the 13 minute barrier with 16:05 and 13:33 respectively. Hensick had a team low 8:30. I'm sure he'll be back in Lake Erie once Sakic returns.

Hejduk, Smyth and Finger were each -3 on the night. At the other end, Guite and Richardson managed to go +1 tonight.

Columbus outhit Colorado 19-8 tonight and had a lot of good, solid checks. I would have cheered for those hits if they weren't against Colorado.

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


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