Avalanche Slide by Oilers; Win 4-2 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Avalanche Slide by Oilers; Win 4-2

Ian Laperrier celebrates the first Avalanche goal
(AP Photo/John Ulan)
Well, the ovation Ryan Smyth received was classy and sustained but not terribly boisterous. After the video tribute, the fans cheered for about 30 seconds and from that point on, Smyth was the enemy. During the tribute and ovation, Smyth and his wife were both leaking some strange, salty discharge from their eye area.

The RPM line of Smyth, Stastny and Svatos was the starting lineup. I guess Q wanted Smyth to get his jitters out early. Smyth started getting the Pronger treatment, though much more subdued. I've got no problems at all with the way the Oilers fans and management treated Smyth tonight. And I'm sure that means the world to all of them.

First Period
The Avalanche got a powerplay opportunity early but couldn't really do much. They gave up the usual 2-on-1 opportunity which thankfully didn't lead to a goal. Svatos had a breakaway chance but was denied going five-hole by Roloson.

At 9:44, the Avalanche got on the board first. Arnason and Lappy broke in on a 2-on-1, Arnason held on then wired a snap shot from the middle of the slot. It went to the far corner above Roloson's glove and the Avalanche have an early lead on the road. Has the world stopped turning? Or hell frozen over? Ok, just checking.

The top line of the Avalanche put on a great shift a couple minutes later but were punished for it. The Avalanche D got caught a little deep, Sam Gagner sprang Cogliano who deftly dodged a Clark hipcheck and fed Dustin Penner who made no mistake on his second goal of the season. No chance for Budaj on that one unless he develops Go-Go-Gadget legs.

The Avalanche didn't put up with that for long though. Q sent out Guite, Arnason and Hlinka and they cashed in 24 seconds after the Oiler goal. Liles took a shot from the point - yes! - and Hlinka buried the rebound in front. That's how you make the best of your opportunities.

Mathieu Roy then laid a big hit on Lappy and held on to him a second too long. Lappy had enough and dropped the gloves. Roy got Lappy's head off right away and got couple shots. Lappy then did the same and took Roy down. Lappy wins that one due to the takedown but it was even otherwise.

Another Avalanche powerplay, another shorthanded chance given up. This is getting real old, real fast. Again, the opposition had the best scoring chance on an Avalanche powerplay.

The Avalanche then got one late to go up by two. Finger took a shot from the point - yes! - and Wolski poked the rebound home after a brief scramble where it looked like Roloson had covered up the puck.

Second Period
The Avalanche got another powerplay chance. And gave up another 2-on-1 opportunity. This time it wasn't Liles that caused it and he made a decent defensive play to break it up. The powerplay unit looks anemic tonight.

Wolski then took the Avalanche's first penalty on a weird call. Sure, his stick was between the guys legs but he didn't trip him. The refs called him for a hold. I guess because he had trapped the guys stick from behind...or something. The PK unit did a good job of killing it off.

The period, a boring one might I add, ended just as it began with a 3-1 lead for the Avalanche.

Third Period
Well this one was dominated by the Oilers. They spent more time in the Avalanche zone than a 12-year old video game freak spent playing Halo 3 when it came out. Cogliano, Gagner and Penner were making fools of the Avalanche defenders for a goodly portion of this period. Thankfully, the Avalanche defenders were not complete fools as they kept the puck from getting to dangerous areas for the most part.

At 10:45 of the third, the Oilers were finally able to get another one past Budaj. Penner knocked Leopold off the puck in the corner, Gagner picked up, moved around Leopold to the front and lost the puck. The lost puck skidded through the slot past 3 Avalanche defenders and onto Tom Gilbert's stick. One second later it was in the back of the net and Oil were within one.

The first line then tried to settle things down and put in some good shifts. The second line also came on and Smyth got a couple chances. Ales Hemsky then took a late penalty with only 2:07 left to go while in the Avalanche zone. It was a bit of a weak call, but a call that's been made all season long.

Scott Hannan decided the game lacked drama so with just 52 seconds left, he took a holding penalty to give us some 4-on-4 hockey. Once the Oilers regained the Avalanche zone, Roloson headed to the bench and it was a powerplay for the Oilers. Thankfully, the Avalanche got the puck out of the zone and Guite fed the puck to Clark for the empty netter to seal the deal.

Hannan and Sauer led the Avs in ice-time with 23:52 and 22:05 respectively. Smyth was next with 21:25. Cumiskey got in 7 minutes and Leopold was held to just over 11 minutes. Clark had a more reasonable 19:27 in ice-time and played a good game.

Leopold managed to be on the ice for both Oiler goals.

Liles led the team with 3 blocked shots. He also gave up most of the 2-on-1 opportunities on the powerplay but who's counting.

Raffi Torres dished out 6 hits, more than the Avalanche's 4 combined hits. I caught more than 4 hits by Avalanche players though. Stupid subjective stats. What an oxymoron, eh?

Arnason won 67% of his faceoffs. Color me surprised. Smith was only 2 for 7 while Hlinka and Guite were both 0 for 3.

Odds and Ends
- Cumiskey was in tonight as the Avs dressed 7 defencemen
- Finger CRUSHED Gagner behind the Avalanche net in the first
- Ben Guite's dad played for the Nordiques apparently (so the TSN announcers said)
- Hannan-Sauer is much better and more intimidating than Hannan-Clark
- Budaj made some big saves even if they didn't look too flashy
- the Avs are the worst faceoff team in league
- Smyth had a few chances but came away with no points on the night

The Good
- first road win
- not needing to come back
- first line was a force tonight

The Bad
- powerplay unit
- getting dominated in third

The Ugly
- Smyth's wife (just kidding, she's hot!)

Related Links
NHL.com Gamesheet
TSN Recap
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
Jerseys and Hockey Love Recap
In The Cheap Seats Game Notes


tapeleg said...

See, I think the same thing about Smyth and his line starting tonight, but Sakic didn't start the game against the Wild either. I'm getting a bad feeling about this.

Shane Giroux said...

He started 3 straight until the Wild game. Maybe Q feels he gets better energy right off the bat from the 2nd or 3rd lines. Then Sakic and company can swing into gear shortly after.

They were the best line for the Avalanche tonight so they may get the nod against Calgary.

Mike Thompson said...

Coach Q. may be trying to get a better matchup for Sakic's line. Remember, home team gets last change. Q might be trying to screw up the oppositions rotation and get Joe some relatively unimpeeded ice time early in the road games.

Shane Giroux said...

Good point on the matchups Mike. Looking at DD's awesome shift chart, the Sakic line came out pretty quickly after puck drop.

Shift Chart

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