Avalanche Power Past Predators 3-1 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Avalanche Power Past Predators 3-1

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
The Avalanche made it a clean sweep of their home-and-home series against Nashville last night with a solid 3-1 victory at the Pepsi Center. Anchored by the solid goaltending of Peter Budaj, the defense managed to put in another solid effort while the offense made sure to cash in on their opportunities.

After a first period which saw no goals but a ton of pressure from the Preds, the teams exploded for 3 goals in the second period. Paul Stastny opened the scoring with a beautiful quick out play which Ryan Smyth read beautifully and delivered a perfect pass for a one-timer. Marek Svatos then gave the Avalanche a 2-0 lead as he followed up on his own rebound to put it past Mason. Two things to learn from that goal. When you throw things at the net, good things can happen and you should never, ever give up on a play.

Before the period was out Nashville was able to pull within one as Martin Gelinas tracked down the puck in a crease scramble and cut the lead in half. Taking a 2-1 lead into the 3rd while on home ice still had me feeling pretty good about this game.

Then midway through the 3rd period, Jordan Leopold sealed the deal with a hard point shot. Man I love saying that. A hard point shot. That goal was made possible by some hard work and puck retention by Wojtek Wolski and Andrew Brunette.

It was another game where the Avalanche managed to keep themselves out of the penalty box for the most part. They only took 2 minors in the whole game with both being in the first period. The only other penalty was a fighting major on Lappy as he went postal on Vernon Fiddler. It took him a whole length of ice to convince Fiddler to drop the gloves and Fiddler regretted it immediately. I didn't catch what set Laperriere off but maybe he just felt like fighting.

John Liles had a scary moment in the first when he and Brunette collided on the ice and Liles leg got tweaked. He had trouble getting off the ice and I was ready to mark him out for the game but he was back on the ice not long after. Of course that caused McNabb and Haynes to proceed to tell us just how well conditioned these athletes are, that a normal man would have broken his leg in 8 places on that play and that Liles contracted and overcame mononucleosis just that very morning.

As well as Budaj played, I still give the save of the game to Chris Mason. He had just begun going post to post on a cross-ice Avalanche feed when Greg Zanon got a stick on the puck and it was headed the opposite direction Mason was. However he alertly flashed out the leather and snagged the puck. You've gotta love seeing that save.


The RPM line continues to carry this team as they logged an average of 21 minutes each with Smyth leading the way with 21:36.

The third/fourth line wasn't too far behind as they logged huge minutes. McCormick had 16:49, Lappy had 17:47 and Guite had 18:55. That's got to be season highs for all 3 of those players and it's a classic example of hard work being rewarded.

T.J. Hensick and Marek Svatos saw minimal ice-time again with just 7:26 and 7:30 respectively.

The D were spread out more evenly while still giving Leopold limited time out there. Clark led the way with nearly 21 minutes, Cumiskey and Finger were the low end of the regulars with 14:03 and 14:55 and Leopold had just 10:55 on the night.

The Predators badly outhit the Avalanche by a 22-9 margin. But again, it didn't shut the Avalanche down as that style of play has in the past. Cody McCormick led the way for the Avs with 3 hits.

Hlinka may be a natural center but his faceoff stats were brutal last night going just 3 for 11. Paul Stastny had a solid night winning 12 of 21 while Scott Nichol schooled everybody with 9 wins out of 12 draws.

- Shea Weber is a non-dirty version of Phaneuf with a bit less offensive upside
- Brett Clark had some key shot blocks that took guts to perform
- where's the potent Alexander Radulov from last years playoffs?
- Karlis Skrastins must have been a swimmer before becoming a defenceman
- Peter Budaj was a non-rebound machine tonight

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
TSN.ca Recap


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