Avalanche Comeback Falls Short Again; Lose 3-2 to Wild - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Avalanche Comeback Falls Short Again; Lose 3-2 to Wild

Budaj makes a save
(Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
Gah. I know it's early but if this is how the Avalanche are going to play this year, something needs to be done. This team is soft, soft, soft. And they appear to lack intensity. I know Joe is a quiet leader and is very calm at all times, but sometimes the team needs to play with some desperation. Maybe one of the other leaders needs to lead by example in those situations.

In their defense though, the Wild are a good team, likely the second best team in the league right now (behind Ottawa and just ahead of Detroit - sorry). So a loss to the Wild is not cause for panic. It's just the trend that's rearing its head again that might lend itself well to panic.

First Period
Would have been nice to see this period but I missed most of it thanks to Center Ice difficulties. I have no idea where the issue was but this is the second Avalanche game that I've had troubles watching. Is this common with Center Ice or is Shaw still having growing pains?

It was a better period for the Avalanche in terms of...well...not giving up 3 goals. They had a plethora of PP chances (does 4 count as a plethora?) and, from the one chance I saw, they were looking a bit tentative. They've got to get in there and get dirty!

Nonetheless, they escaped with a 0-0 tie at the end of the first.

Second Period
They started this one on the PP as Rolston took a penalty with 20 seconds left in the first. And again they couldn't generate any chances. They really need to get in their and get gritty on the PP.

Jordan Leopold led a penalty box parade for the Avalanche. He took a holding call @ 4:30 which led to the Wilds first goal. Gaborik was in the corner and being covered by Hannan, Sauer and Hlinka. And what happens when you have 3 of your 4 penalty killers covering one guy? It means 3 other Wild players are likely open. Parrish was one of those open players and he had about 5 seconds uncovered in the slot and he made no mistake.

Leopold then decided he might as well head back to the box and Hlinka decided to join him. The Wild had a long 5-on-3 and they used it to get Rolston up near the high slot and he destroyed the puck. I wouldn't have blamed Budaj if he had ducked and covered on this shot. It went to the top left corner and the Wild were pulling away.

Then Center Ice cut out again but hey, nothing big should have happened right? Wrong. The Avs stormed back and tied the game in the span of just over a minute.

Arnason buried a loose puck on the powerplay to pull within 1. Seeing the highlight at the end of the 2nd showed that the team was scrambling down low, getting lots of traffic and lo and behold, they potted one.

Andrew Brunette then tied it up as he found himself open on a rush led by...Kurt Sauer??? Well, Wolski carried it in, then Sauer raced in, cut behind the net and dished the puck over Backstrom's pad and Brunette buried it. In all honesty though, Sauer was just trying to toss it out front, not make a beautiful play like that. However, it does show that good things happen when you rush the net and toss the puck out front.

Budaj made some excellent saves on another Wild PP. Guess who was in the box? I'll give you a hint. He wears #44, had taken 2 penalties in the period already, and his name rhymes with Schmeopold.

They held off the Wild, including a big shot block by Clark with 4 seconds left, and took a 2-2 tie into the third.

Third Period
The period started off on a good note. The Avs were generating a few chances and looking like they still wanted to win.

They got an early PP chance but, as per Avalanche style, the opposing team generated the best chance. A shot wizzed around the boards, deflected past Liles and then it was a foot race between Liles and Demitra and Gaborik. Liles held his own pretty well and ensured it was a 2-on-1, not a 2-on-0. Budaj read the play beautifully as Demitra fed Gaborik and Budaj denied him with the pad as he flew from right to left.

It stayed fairly uneventful and I was not paying enough attention - hungry, cooking supper - to make any good observations. I'm sure DD will have that covered with his game notes.

At about the 5 minute mark it looked like the teams were playing for overtime. In the cramped NW division, it's not a bad idea to try and guarantee yourself a point. It's much better if you deny your opposition that point though. And that's exactly what the Wild did.

In another soft play be the defence, Clark to be specific, Koivu came around the corner, cut to the front of the net, and buried one past a surprised Budaj. Budaj wasn't expecting the cut in so he was still vertical in his net. Clark, likely not expecting a cut either, had given enough of a gap between himself and Budaj to allow Koivu room to manouevre.

Odds and Ends
- that's 2 road games in a row where they came back, but couldn't overcome the deficit and came away with nothing
- Svatos was on the 2nd line with Smyth and Stastny for the most part
- Skrastins is back in Denver with a shoulder injury

Ryan Smyth led the team in ice-time with 23:43. Clark and Sakic were close with 23:38 and 23:24 respectively. Parker had 3 shifts total but with Boogard out, not much he could do tonight. Hlinka only logged 7:27 tonight. Could the physicality of the NHL be getting to him already?

Sakic fired off 5 shots and Liles and Wolski each had 4. If you keep firing, sooner or later they start to go in.

Liles, Finger and Hannan were the shot block leaders with 3 each. Nice to see Liles getting in there defensively.

The Wild had only scored 2 PP goals all year, they came away from this game with 2 more. Glad the Avs could help them out.

Guite was 4 for 6 in the faceoff circle but the team had a 47% win percentage. Paul Stastny had a rough day going 6 for 17. Ryan Smyth took 2 draws and won them both.

The Good
- coming back against the Wild
- Budaj played well and had a couple highlight reel saves

The Bad
- having to come back against the Wild
- 0 points when they had a chance to steal at least one

The Ugly
- having the same plot line for the last 3 games

Related Links
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
Jerseys and Hockey Love Recap (Tapeleg was at the game)
In The Cheap Seats Recap
Mile High Hockey Recap


tapeleg said...

Clark was a total dog on that third goal. At least Finger was doing something, anticipating a pass and staying with his man in the slot.

You know, this some story line is getting old. Time for the Avs to dominate a game

Shane Giroux said...

Yep. I'm not a big Clark hater but he eats up too many minutes and plays too soft. Any opposing player cutting in front of the net from the corner should be eating a shoulder on their way in, not being given a cookie and warm milk.

If Leopold could keep himself out of the box - and his head out of his *** - then he could take some of the load off Clark.

Mike Thompson said...

It's official Jordan Leopold will henceforth be known as Jordan "Symphony of Miscues" Schmeopold by this blogger until he pulls his head out of his ***.

Also, my "Scratch Arnason" crusade will take a one-game respite. I hope Finger's foot is OK.

I know why Hlinka has disappeared. It's a combo of two things really:

First, back across the pond he was a 1st line player who probably had a fairly consistant line. Here, Coach Q. has shifted him around so much I bet he still doesn't know anybody's name.

Second, he's wearing a turtleneck he borrowed from Yashin. Bad Karma.

Jibblescribbits said...

he's wearing a turtleneck? That's a bad move right there.

Shane Giroux said...

Yeah, the turtleneck is a bit weird. Not sure if it's to stay warm or protect his neck. Or just for style points.

It could be that he's just having trouble gelling with anybody since he's shifted so much. He's shown a decent defensive game though so at least he's not just a one-trick pony.

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