Avalanche Singing the Blues: Lose 4-1 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Friday, October 12, 2007

Avalanche Singing the Blues: Lose 4-1

Ryan Smyth flys through the air during the first period
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Well, it was a tough start as I figured it would be. The Avalanche weathered the storm and came away with a 1-1 tie. The 2nd period was uneventful but the game broke wide open in the 3rd. A two-goal outburst by Dan Hinote sealed the fate of the Avalanche as they were never able to solve Manny Legace except for one flukey goal.

First Period
Yikes. Tough start to this period as Brad Boyes scored a goal 1:14 into the period. Paul Kariya burned in to the zone around Brett Clark (I believe it was #5), Theodore made a close-in save off Kariya, then another off the trailer. However, Brad Boyes was coming in unimpeded and Theodore was well out of position at this point so it was a tap-in for him.

So first game in, first scoring rush, first goal against for Jose Theodore. It's an easy one to hang on Theodore's head immediately. However the Blues announcers were right...this one can be mostly be hung at the feet of Joe Sakic. He dogged the backcheck and Boyes made him pay big time. I don't like saying it but I call it as I see it - and as the Blues announcers see it I suppose as that's what their assessment was as well.

NHL.com listed it as a shorthanded goal. It was not. Keep up the good work guys. Next time test your new system out a bit better before rolling it out.

However, Paul Stastny had an answer less than 3 minutes later. With Ryan Smyth in front of the net, Stastny sent a pass cross-crease which ended up deflecting in off of Paul Kariya's skate. What can you say about Stastny. When you're hot, you're hot! That's 5 goals and 9 points in the first 4 games. Be still my beating heart.

After the quick opening, the game tapered off a bit. There were only 5 shots on goal per team with about 6 or 7 minutes to go. The teams picked it up back up a bit towards the end but Theodore and Legace were both up to the test.

The period ended 1-1 with 9 shots on goal for each team.

Second Period
The Avs opened up this period on the powerplay but weren't able to get much done. The PP was followed up with a good shift by Wojtek Wolski as he had the puck follow his stick all around the ice while getting a couple good chances on Legace.

The Blues then got a powerplay of their own off a completely bogus call. Yes, I said bogus. Dude. Hejud was breaking in towards Legace from his off wing, Kariya pushed him out and into Legace. The refs saw this as Hejduk not trying to stop from interfering with the goaltender. Even the Blues announcers - who were actually very fair - thought this was a terrible call.

Thankfully the Blues got nothing done as the PK continued to look much improved. They were looking very aggressive and didn't give the Blues time to set up. At times they got a bit too aggressive and found themselves stacking one side, but the Blues couldn't capitalize.

Jeff Finger then put Lee Stempniak flat on his keester. I have nothing more to say. I won't say it. No. It's too obvious. I will not say that he gave him the Finger! Curses, foiled again.

Manny Legace then stepped up and made two great saves. Hlinka was streaking down the left side and Andrew Brunette fed him a mind-numbingly gorgeous pass from across the ice. However Legace got over quickly and made an excellent save on Hlinka. Then Joe Sakic broke in down his off wing, fired a shot which Legace got enough of to direct wide. He then scrambled back into position to cover up a rebound chance by Jaroslav Hlinka.

Paul Stastny then drew a penalty on Ryan Johnson. Johnson rubbed out Stastny, Stastny grabbed Johnson, down they went, into the penalty box Johnson went, out of my mouth came a chuckle. The Blues announcers actually thought it was legit but I saw Stastny taking down Johnson, not the other way around.

However, the refs noticed their mistake on the replay because they then called Milan Hejduk on another ridiculous penalty. Hejduk came flying back to stop Hinote from getting a shorthanded opportunity, rubbed him out, and the refs called him for interference. And they say "even up calls" don't exist. Right.

The period ended 1-1 with the Avs getting off 10 shots to the Blues 3.

Third Period
Oh my. Worst. Period. Ever. It was opened with a good save by Theodore on a breakaway but it quickly turned sour. McClement scored at 4:57 off a scramble in front followed barely a minute later by Hinote on another scramble in front.

The Avalanche put some pressure on the Blues but couldn't get past Legace. Hinote then put the icing on the cake with just 4 minutes left.

It was a less than stellar defensive effort as the D again looked confused and unsure of themselves. They also got pushed around in their own crease - which led to the third goal - and just aren't battling it out hard enough.

The offense came up flat as well though there were many opportunities. Most of the opportunities came from the newly coined RPM line (Ryan-Paul-Milan) and Milan Hejduk was the most dangerous of the night for sure.

The top line of Hlinka-Sakic-Brunette didn't generate many chances though when it did, it was typically Hlinka and Sakic together on a rush. Poor Andrew just can't keep up to the young 'uns. Hey, Joe is young at heart.

The faceoff percentage was 42%. Not horrible but still needing improvement. Guite started the night off terrible in the circle but ended at close to 50%. Arnason still doesn't seem to give a rats behind whether he wins faceoffs or not.

Clark had the most ice time with 23:07. He made some pretty weak plays, one which led to a goal when he got shoved out of the crease by Hinote who then buried it. You've got to be stronger in your crease. He ended the night at -3.

Svatos again saw limited ice time and he wasn't really buzzing as much as he was the first few games.

I've got nothing too particular to say about Theodore. He was neither exceptional nor terrible.

- Leopold out, Skrastins and Finger in
- Wolski is finishing his checks and fighting hard
- D is still out of sync with each other
- Liles is playing well positionally
- Smyth doesn't seem to be competing like the Smyth I remember (or hoped for)
- PK was looking much better

The Good
- Hejduk looked sharp
- the 2nd line was still looking good
- at least they got one goal

The Bad
- going into the 3rd 1-1 and leaving with a 4-1 loss
- Dan Hinote giving it to his former team
- Legace continuing his Avalanche-killer ways
- poor defensive effort
- lack of intensity

The Ugly
- Jackman hitting the boards hard in the 1st period

Related Links
NHL.com Scoresheet
TSN Recap
Denver Post Recap
In The Cheap Seats Recap


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