Avalanche Stifle Lightning, Win 4-3 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Avalanche Stifle Lightning, Win 4-3

(Associated Press)
The Avalanche scored three late first period goals en route to a 4-3 win against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

Jordan Leopold opened the scoring on the powerplay at the 15:20 mark. Leopold came in from the point, took a nice feed from Marek Svatos and made a nice forehand-backhand move to put it past Olaf Kolzig.

A mere two minutes later, Marek Svatos again found himself working hard in tight and he managed to get the puck over to Wojtek Wolski who notched his first goal of the game. It was nice to see the 6'3 Wolski charging the net.

And apparently it felt good for Wolski too as barely 30 seconds later he drove hard to the net and managed to get a hold of his own rebound for his second goal of the game and third in his last four games.

That was all she wrote for Olaf Kolzig as Mike Smith came in to start the second period and did an excellent job in relief stopping 20 of 21 shots.

His only mistake was giving the puck away to David Jones who went into Datsyuk mode as he grabbed the puck, skated around one defender, then went forehand-backhand on a sprawling Mike Smith to make it 4-1. I hope any lingering Wings fans just threw up in their mouth on a comparison of Jones to Datsyuk. Because it's the only reason I said it.

The Jones goal proved to be huge as the Avalanche took a couple penalties which let the Lightning get right back in the game.

Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos scored on back-to-back powerplays to bring the score to 4-3. And the cold sweats started flowing.

But the Avalanche were able to stifle the final onslaught and walk away with the W.

Half and half
With that win, the Avalanche pull within one win of .500 hockey. Yes we can! Yes we can!

It's disheartening to be aiming to play above .500 rather than aiming for the division title. But it's still early in the season. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Break out of the breakout funk
Early in the game, I found myself banging my head against the wall. Then I decided to stop that and watch the game for a while.

Ok, I was banging my head because once again the Avalanche were collapsing against each other as they broke out of the zone.

At one point Ryan Smyth skated from the left boards to the right boards as Milan Hejduk was breaking out of the zone. It honestly looked like Smyth for a second had forgotten what team he played for and was actually trying to get the puck away from Hejduk. It was baffling.

Thankfully as the game wore on, the team started to realize how much more effective you can be if you spread out on the rush.

Hopefully one of the coaches took notes and will try and implement that style of play. It would go perfectly with a "run-and-gun" offense, don't you think?


The Arnason line was far and away the best line of the night. And yes, it feels weird typing that. But how can you argue with two goals, five assists and a combined +6?

Ian Laperriere saw his ice-time increase to 18:42 tonight. He even saw 30 seconds on the powerplay though I dont' recall seeing him out there. I'm still watching from my Slingbox feed which makes it really hard to see numbers on the ice. Oh how I miss my TV.

Even though they played limited minutes, the new Cody McJones line played very well. Jones really seemed to up his physicality and effort tonight and was rewarded with a goal. Hopefully he sees the cause-effect line there.

Brett Clark blocked nine blocked shots on the night which was 50% more than the entire Lightning squad.

John-Michael Liles returned from the flu but played limited minutes - 16:12 - and wasn't very noticeable.

Cody Mcleod pounded on Steve Downie in the third and I loved every minute of it. Except when Downie punched Mcleod after they had gone to the ice. But hey, what else can you expect from Downie?

Ruslan Salei had four shots on goal as he continues to up his play over the last few games. He's making me look like less of a fool for predicting he would be the Avs best defenseman.

Paul Stastny wore the "A" tonight but it must have weighed a lot as he didn't look to have much jump in his step. He had enough less after he took a shot to the leg and briefly went to the dressing room.

It was Raycroft's third win of the year which surpassed his season total in Toronto last year.

Up Next
It's off to Minnesota to take on the Wild on Monday as part of a three-game road trip. It will be the second meeting between the two teams. And the second chance for fans to shake their heads at management for letting Andrew Brunette go the way they did.

The game will be televised on TSN2 and Versus.

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
MHH Recap
Denver Post Recap
Rocky Mountain News Recap
AD's Post-game Thoughts


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