Post-game vs Edmonton - Feb 3, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Post-game vs Edmonton - Feb 3, 2007

Give me an "H". Give me an "E". Give me double-hockey sticks and what do you have? The Avalanche's season up until this point! That is a tough, tough loss. But the Avalanche must be used to it by now so they're likely no worse for the wear. The Avalanche outshot the Oilers and outplayed them in the third but lacked finish tonight. They paid for it dearly when the Oilers buried two quick goals in the last half of the third to come away with the 3-2 win. The Avs nearly battled back in the last minute but just couldn't get it done.

Although it was a loss, there were some good points for the Avalanche. They did outplay the Oilers in total and their energy line was on fire. The PK did well and the D did a good job of clearing an abundance of rebounds. They outshot the Oilers, largely in part to blocking 16 shots, 4 from Skrastins alone. The bad points were that the PP was ineffective and nobody could finish any plays. If I could count the number of open nets that were missed...well then I could count to about 6 or 7 I guess.

The Richardson-Guite-Rycroft line was a terror on the ice today. Richardson scored the first goal on a great diving effort by Guite after he deftly side-stepped a check to get the puck in the zone. Guite and Richardson were rewarded with slightly above average ice-time but I would like to have seen them even more out there. They fought hard, hit hard, and displayed energy and passion. All things that the Avalance lack in general. Giguere better sign Guite before he gets too good and asks for too much money!

Brett Clark and Karlis Skrastins were the #1 pairing tonight (26:51 and 21:35 respectively) and although they both came away with a -2 rating, there's a reason they are out there. Skrastins blocked 4 shots alone and made a great pass to put Guite on a breakaway (damn post!). Clark contributed 3 blocked shots and got a couple shots of his own in on Roloson. They certainly aren't an elited defensive pairing but you can't fault them for the effort they put in. I just wish Skrastins would stop getting turned inside out by players. He needs to put the body on them rather than fishing for the puck. That's the main weakness I keep seeing in his game.

Peter Budaj had an all-right game but he was fighting the puck and giving up some big rebounds. One thing Q has to watch out for is lumping too much on Budaj. It's fine to make him the #1 but you've got to give him a break so he doesn't try and take the entire team on his shoulders. I'm no psychologist but it seems that might be what's causing his struggles lately. 15 starts in 16 games is a lot of starts for a sophomore goalie trying to get his struggling team into the playoffs. Losing games like these will really start to wear on him b/c nobody made any bones about this being another "must-win" game. And he needs to play the puck much less!

Wojtek Wolski was flying again tonight and made some great plays but nobody could bury his setups. He made a great pass to Stastny from behind the net but Roloson came up huge to keep the game tied. Wolski again got time on the PK and did quite well. He nearly got a chance while short-handed but, when forced to the outside, calmy circled the Oilers net and brought the puck back out to the neutral zone which killed off the remainder of the Avs penalty. He also got off 5 shots tonight but none of them could find the back of the net. He does need some work on his 1-on-1 play as he seems to come in a bit slow and off-balance against the defender. If he wants to get around them, he needs to be moving his feet. He's playing great behind the net though.

Joe Sakic, although ending up with 2 penalties on the night (one a very marginal call), was dangerous out there again. He had 7 shots on the night but couldn't get them past Roloson. And that doesn't count a couple shots which barely missed the far side. Or the open net he missed when the puck rolled on him out front. What was with the ice at the start of the third? The puck was bouncing every which way but in. He still is hustling out there on the backcheck and showing some leadership out there. I haven't seen him dog it on a backcheck once this year.

Although Joe Sakic and Wojtek Wolski were a dangerous pair on the ice, they were out-dangered ( word?) by the pair of Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth. Hemsky tied it up at 1 in the second off a Smyth screen, Smyth got the go-ahead goal, and then Hemsky and Smyth were in on the Horcoff goal which stood up as the game winner. I said, in an obvious statement, that if you shut Smyth and Hemsky down, you win the game. The Avs didn't and the outcome was obvious. Now Hemsky has 10 points in his last 4 games and Smyth has 8. To anyone who says Smyth is over-rated...well I'll agree that he's not worth 5+ million, but he is a very important piece of this Oiler team.

The Good
- 4th line energy
- youngsters playing well
- decent PK

The Bad
- late 3rd period penalties
- ineffective PP
- losing it in the third again

The Ugly
- seeing the Oil be so overprotective of their goalie


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