Post-game vs San Jose - Mar 18, 2007 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Post-game vs San Jose - Mar 18, 2007

The Avalanche got a huge win tonight at the Pepsi Center as they put the San Jose Sharks away in OT by a score of 4-3. This was the game in hand the Avalanche had on Calgary and they needed to win it. It was looking dicey going into the 3rd at a 3-2 disadvantage. However, Andrew Brunette came up clutch and tied the game at 3 halfway through the third. Then an ill-timed penalty by Jonathan Cheechoo put the Avs on the PP going into OT. And Milan Hejduk made them pay. He flew down the wing and buried a classic Hejduk goal as he went top shelf on the short side and make it look as easy as putting his pants on.

JM Liles found his scoring touch in this game as he scored a critical goal to pull the Avs within one before the 2nd period ended. He ended up with 4 shots on the night, was +1 and had 17 minutes of ice-time. He's starting to look comfortable again out on the ice which is a relief after watching his knee bend awkwardly in last nights game. Hopefully his foot is close to being 100+ which I really don't think it was when he came back from his injury. He wasn't out enough games to be looking that rusty unless something was wrong.

Andrew Brunette had a great game today. He's always solid on the ice and today he continued that with some sound plays, a clutch goal to tie it, and an assist on Liles' goal that got them within one. On the Liles goal, he rubbed out his man along the board to go streaking into the zone and get the puck on net. And what do we know happens when you get the puck on net? Good things! In this case, Liles pinched at the right time and buried it. Then again Brunette was using his big frame in front of the net and working hard to get the tying goal. I'm very glad they signed Brunette to a contract extension and am glad that he got a significant raise as he very much deserved it.

And of course how can any post that any Avalanche blogger make tonight not include something about Joe Sakic? He was the first start of the night, assisted on all 4 Avalanche goals, was +1, had 6 shots and won 73% of his faceoffs. How's that for setting an example for the rest of the team and showing them that there's no quit. He did take an untimely penalty but it managed to fuel the team as they successfully killed it off. Did Joe mean to take that penalty to spark his team? Only he knows the answer.

And speaking of team sparks, the softie that Budaj let in for the second goal actually served to anger the team it seems. After that goal was scored, the team spend the next 5 or 6 minutes in the Sharks zone trying to generate some chances. It didn't work out so well for them but it was good to see that kind of response to a bad goal. Unfortunately Budaj has given up a couple in his last two games, but fortunately it hasn't phased him and he's been able to pull out the wins for the team to keep this streak going.

Evgeni Nabokov, on the other hand, was brilliant tonight. He flat out robbed the Avalanche on many occasions, including a spectacular glove save on Liles during the 5-on-3. I know the Sharks like rotating their goaltenders but it's close to playoff time and they need to pick one. I hope Nabokov is it. I'm not sure why but I like the guy and the way he plays. He's a very smart goaltender, as evidenced by his nifty pokecheck to deny a scoring chance in close. Why wait for the guy to roof it when you can just poke it away? It's not every goaltender that makes that play but it's a very smart play.

So a big win by the Avs and now they get some rest as they don't play again until Wednesday when they clash with the slumping Oilers. They play the Oilers again on Friday night and I will be at the game live and in person to see the streak continue! So that could mean I don't get a chance to do a pre-game and my post-game will likely be later on the weekend. But I should have tons of pictures and hopefully some videos as well!

The Good
- won a huge game
- overcame deficit in 3rd
- Arnason finally got on the board
- decent powerplay

The Bad
- Stastny's streak finally ended
- went into the 3rd down by 1

The Ugly
- Guerin's baseball swing to Wolski's face

7 Comments:

B_Washington said...

I thought Sakic looked a bit off (for him) tonight. I guess that what makes him great, even when he is not having his best game (he kind of gave away the puck a couple times wuith no real pressure) he was still able to find a way to come out and contribute. And he was good where he needed to be.

That's why he's a Hall-of-Famer.

Shane Giroux said...

b,

He certainly wasn't top of his game but like you said, you can't discount the 4 assists.

I thought Brunette was the beast of the night with his work ethic but Hejduk and Stastny had great games as well.

And I should have given Brunette credit for surpassing his career highs!

B_Washington said...

Yeah. Hejduk has looked very good lately. He is starting to look liek the player he was before the lockout.

Chris said...

It looks like Duke's speed is back. His puck control is also back to his usual stellar self. Perhaps this is indicative of him regaining his form :)

Shane Giroux said...

chris,

Yep, he's been flying all season. I went back in Google video and went through a few games just out of boredom more than anything and he was flying even then

Lately he really seems to have his confidence back. Confidence is huge to being able to take a perfect shot while going at near top-speed. Thankfully he was working on other aspects of his game at the same time (defense).

He's into the 30-goal club which, so far, has just under 30 members. He should hit 35 before the season is out and has an outside shot at 40. Very outside but it exists :)

If he can score 30+ goals a season and be one of our top PKers, then I'd be a happy man.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

In the Edmonton game on Wednesday night, Arnason was at it again. Maybe he's breaking out of his long-term obsession with mediocrity. One can only hope.

Shane Giroux said...

Stanley,

He's a streaky guy and picked a perfect time as Hejduk and Stastny have dried up a bit. I'll be at the game tonight!

Shane

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