Post-game vs Buffalo - Mar 7, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Post-game vs Buffalo - Mar 7, 2007

The streak continues as the Avalanche have now won 5 in a row after a 3-2 win over Buffalo. The game started off on a bad note as the Sabres got on the board only 2 minutes in. That only lasted until the halfway point of the 1st when Hejduk was fed a great pass by Stastny during a shorthanded opportunity. Then after trading goals in the 2nd, Wojtek Wolski buried one after Sakic turned on the jets to feed the puck out front.

Paul Stastny continued his streak with a 2 assist performance which puts him only 4 points shy of Evgeni Malkin. He and Hejduk are really clicking right now. I'd compare the duo to Hejduk and Forsberg although Foppa fans everywhere would probably draw and quarter me. I know it's a bit premature to make that comparison but I'm looking forward to seeing what this duo does for the rest of the season. If it keeps up, Stastny should get some serious consideration for the Calder and Hejduk should get some serious apologies from his detractors.

This was an extremely physical game and not just from the opposing team! The Avalanche were dishing out some good hits today as well. Sauer, Finger and Vaananen were the most physical while folks such as Guite and Stastny certainly did not shy away from the rough stuff.
And of course Scott Parker flattened Jochan Hecht after he gave a pseudo-challenge to Ben Guite for giving Briere a blindside hit. It's that kind of physicality that the Avs were very much lacking. It's the first time I've seen an Avalanche player absolutely level another player during a scrum and I loved it.

The Avalanche again limited their opponent to a mere 21 shots on goal. If this keeps up, the Avalanche should certainly be able to extend their winning streak even farther. I really don't know why the Avalanche decided to tighten up their defense just recently as opposed to earlier in the season. If all it took to make Sauer more physical was for the coaching team to say "Play more physical.", then why didn't they just say it earlier?

Kurt Sauer put in 29 minutes tonight. I'll say it again. Kurt Sauer put in 29 minutes tonight. If I had said that earlier in the season, people would have said the stats were wrong. But with the way he's playing lately, it's much easier to believe. He's playing the body, he's not fishing for the puck, and he's not trying to do anything offensively.

Brad Richardson managed to steal himself 17:23 in ice-time tonight. Most of his time was on the 3rd line with Laperriere and Arnason. That line had a few opportunities, the best one coming from Arnason, and put in a good 3rd line performance. Well, save for Laperriere's goof in the first which helped lead to the first goal. Nothing like dropping your gloves and not having a partner reciprocate.

The Good
- beating the #1 team in the east
- Stastny continuing his streak
- Hejduk staying on fire
- good defensive coverage
- holding on for a 1-goal win

The Bad
- waking up this late in the season

The Ugly
- not knowing the game was on NHL Network until the midway point

13 Comments:

Lamewad said...

Wow. 29 minutes by Sauer? Inconcievable! Someone kidnapped the real Kurt and replaced him with a competent player, and for that, I thank them. That had to be embarrassing for Lappy to have that happen to him. We got the W though, so no harm done. And I wouldn't consider waking up a "bad" thing. Yeah, I wish we had played like this earlier in the season, but we're making things interesting, and there's still hope!

Shane Giroux said...

Waking up this late was really the only bad thing I could think of from this game :)

Lappy certainly had egg on his face after dropping them. You could tell he gave a "Come on, he challenged" look after it went in but it was a smart move by Kaleta.

B_Washington said...

I have thought that all season the Avs lacked grit on defense. I think a turning point had actually been the calling up of Finger. I really like him, he's big and physical and puts in good hits.

I think seeing this rookie call-up go out and outhit everyone else on the team has lit a fire under the Avs (well not completely him, but it has helped.)

Cory said...

This is a huge win. I've been saying all season long that we needed to stop worrying about offensive output and start worrying more about playing some solid defense. It looks like that's what's been the difference maker during this hot streak.

With four weeks left in the season and only trailing Minnesota by 6 points, we are a far cry from "out of it" like I thought we would be at this point. Plus, many of our remaining games are against divisional opponents and so if we stay hot, we will still be playing hockey in mid-April.

Mike Thompson said...

Glad to have you back, Shane. Great recap. Unfortunately, work has been hectic lately and coupled with a killer cold and a newborn son that can subsist on 2 hours of sleep at a time means I don't get to see much hockey lately. Still hoping to see Paul get the Calder. Hopefully, that won't mean he'll be traded in a couple of years for a "burgeoning offensive-defenseman" like Drury was.

Shane Giroux said...

b_washington,

Yep, Finger does a good job at finishing his checks and certainly will lead by example for others.

The rookies showing the vets likely did lead to some improvement but I'm still stymied on Sauer's late turnaround. Why did the staff wait until now to tell him to play physical?

Shane Giroux said...

cory,

Yep, offense was never a problem. The last 2 games having teams limited to 21 shots is certainly a vast improvement in defensive quality.

Budaj has been playing well and the D has been stepping up for him more than they had in the past. And when the D messes up, Budaj has been there to bail them out.

Shane Giroux said...

mike,

Congratulations on the newborn! That puts my complaints about work into perspective I think.

If Stastny continues streaking like this, he has a good chance at surpassing Malkin who seems to have cooled off a bit lately.

If Giguere trades Stastny, he will be drawn and quartered. Trading Drury at the time was "acceptable" as the team had a lot of other big guns up front. But these days, the big names are slim pickings on this team so I don't see them ever being crazy enough to move a player like Stastny.

B_Washington said...

Torches and pitchforks if he trades Stasny, Wolski, Liles, or Svatos.

Who knows what got into Sauer, but I like it. It has been refreshing these last 5 games to see the Avs become a more punishing team. Both teams last night were throwing really good clean hard checks and it was fun to watch.

Shane Giroux said...

b_washington,

I tried leaving a comment on your blog but the Google captcha is broken right now. Google's been having all sorts of server problems these days.

B_Washington said...

Well thanks for trying... I have no idea how to fix that though, so Uhh maybe try later?

Shane Giroux said...

You can turn off the word verification under Settings-Comment-Show Word Verification in Blogger if you'd like. Other than that, yep, gotta wait for Google to fix it up :)

B_Washington said...

Ahh thanks for the tip.. I went ahead and did that. I will turn it back on if i start getting spam, but until them i'll leave it off

Post a Comment