Post-game vs Phoenix - Mar 17, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Post-game vs Phoenix - Mar 17, 2007

The Avalanche put themselves even deeper into the playoff hunt as they pull off a 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. This was a very big win as it came on the same night as the Calgary Flames gave up a rare home loss to the Minnesota Wild. Now, with one game in hand, the Avalanche are just 6 points back of Calgary with 2 more games to come against Calgary.

The game started out very well for the Avalanche as they dominated early. Paul Stastny quickly extended his point streak with the first goal of the game halfway through the 1st. Not too long after, Sakic decided to give the team a 2-0 lead and it looked like the Avalanche were on a roll.

Phoenix had other ideas as they managed to score 3 unanswered goals to take the lead midway through the second. But you had to know that Joe Sakic wouldn't stand for that. 25 seconds later he took a beautiful feed from Brunette and tied the game up and stemmed the tide.

Heading into the third it was a nervous time for Avalanche fans but one could hope the team would be buoyed by hearing about the Flames loss. It certainly sparked Ben Guite! He snagged the puck, flew down the left side and buried a high glove shot on Joseph to give the the Avs the lead again. Brad Richardson then decided that he would streak in on the same side and go high blocker on Joseph. Shortly after, Paul Stastny got his second of the game just to put the final exclamation mark on the win.

With all the loving that the Avalanche D were getting, they seemed to take a step back today. If it weren't for the Coyotes not knowing how to hit the net, and for Budaj making some big stops in the 3rd, this game could very well have been 6-3 for the Coyotes. The Coyotes were able to fly into the zone near uncosted on more occasions than I would like to see. The forwards were still backchecking well but didn't seem to be pinching in down low as much as they had in previous games and it led to some in tight chances for Phoenix.

The two defensemen playing the most consistent game were Clark and Finger. Finger continues to bring a physical presence and doesn't shy away from trouble at all. When Sjostrom took a shot well after the whistle went, he was the first guy there giving Sjostrom a face full of leather. And Clark is the best defenseman the Avalanche have at carrying the puck out of the zone. That is a skill that is still lacking for the team so Clark's ability sticks out like a sore thumb compared to players such as Vaananen.

As mentioned, Paul Stastny continued his point streak as he scored 2 goals tonight. He now looks to be on pace for a 30 goal season. He'd join Joe Sakic, and likely Milan Hejduk, in the 30-goal club for the Avalanche. Sakic scored his 29th and 30th tonight to give him 9 30-goal seasons in his ever-impressive career. And another man who could possibly join the 30-goal club, Andrew Brunette, was pivotal in the game-tying goal by Sakic. Night in and night out, those 4 have made each Avalanche game exciting to watch.

Wojtek Wolski had an average game today. He wasn't really a presence out there, but wasn't much of a liability either. He was one of those forwards who weren't contributing enough down low in the defensive zone. He likes to hug the side board waiting for the outlet pass. It's likely the main reason that Ben Guite was bumped up to the first line towards the end of the 3rd period. It was a smart move by Quenneville as they needed Guite's defensive abilities more than Wolski's offensive abilities. Man, I'm so hard on Wolski!

Peter Budaj started off with an average game as well but really turned it up in the 3rd period. I both like and dislike how he does that from time to time. I don't like him having to rebound from a bad goal or two, but I like how he has been able to do it. The first goal was a bit of a weak one, the second was a great shot, and the third was just bloody weird. But after those 3 were in, Budaj decided that was enough and made some key saves during a rough spot in the middle of the 3rd when the Avalanche were getting badly outplayed.

Scott Parker was out and Marek Svatos was in his place on the fourth line. I think that was a mistake because, as was pointed out by, the last time these two played, the Coyotes took some liberties. They didn't take as many tonight but there were a few times where I thought "No way they'd do that if Parked was in the lineup". However, kudos to Svatos for putting a good hit on a Yotes player towards the end of the third, getting smothered in a pileup, then getting up and delivering another hit on the very next play. If he keeps playing with that kind of spark, he could work his way back into Q's good books.

With Parker out, Rycroft was the man left to dish out some justice when necessary. It became necessary when the Coyotes overreacted to Svatos hit. He and Carcillo dropped the gloves after a brief scrum and both decided to toss some haymakers NBA style. Ok, it wasn't that bad but those were some wild punches they were throwing. But good for Rycroft for not backing down and showing that this team still has plenty of fight left in it. But in the future, it should be Parker doing that.

The Good
- fought back to win
- held onto lead in 3rd

The Bad
- gave up 2 goal lead
- got outplayed for long stretches of time

The Ugly
- Liles' deep knee bend (ouch!)

The Action

Sakic Ties it Up

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Liles Bends His Knee Awkwardly
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Guite Fires Home the Winner
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Guite Shows Some Intensity
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Richardson ReciprocatesFree Image Hosting at
Two Snipers Share Their Secrets
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Stastny For Calder!
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Theo and Budaj
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