Avalanche Storm Sharks; Win 6-2 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Avalanche Storm Sharks; Win 6-2

Arnott scores his second goal on Peter Budaj
(AP Photo/Will Powers)
The Avalanche put on a dominating offensive performance and took it to the San Jose Sharks with a 6-2 win. Although there were technical issues with the HD feed on Center Ice, it was still available on a non-HD (yuck!) feed. However I didn't need HD to see something I liked. And I liked what the Avalanche looked like tonight.

First period
The period started off with an excellent penalty kill after Milan Hejduk took a double-minor for high-sticking. The Avalanche actually generated more chances than the Sharks did on this one. The PK was generating pressure, forcing turnovers and covering a lot of ice. Very nice to see.

The Avalanche then got a slew of powerplay chances and they made sure to cash in. On their first chance, the most notable point was when Liles was stripped of the puck heading up ice but Sakic had stayed back to save Liles' hide. The second chance was a 5-on-3 and they made sure to make it count. It was as beautiful and well-executed as a 5-on-3 can be. Sakic got the puck, dumped it down to Stastny, broke for the net and took a perfect feed back from Stastny and buried it. With that goal, Sakic jumps past Phil Esposito for 8th on the all-time points list and takes sole possession of 14th on the all-time goal scoring list.

Wojtek Wolski and Marek Svatos were skating together on the 3rd line and looked good together. They did have some miscues but nothing horrible. They got mixed up on one opportunity where Svatos should have taken the puck since he had the better angle but Wolski grabbed it, tried to feed it back and lost it in traffic. They'll work those issues out on the bench pretty quickly.

Milan Hejduk then put the Avs up by a score of 2-0 with a goal made of sheer speed. He came flying down the right side, blew past Kyle McLaren and then buried it five-hole on Nabokov. It was definitely a Hejduk-style goal and it always brings a smile to my face. If he keeps that speed all season long, I could see him scoring 40 goals.

Since I was watching the Sharks feed, I got treated to a mic'd up segment with Tim Hunter, one of the Sharks assistant coaches. He was coaching a player during practice on what the Avs do on the PP. This may sound familiar: "Brunette sets up down low, or Smyth, then Sakic comes in on the backdoor with a give-and-go from Stastny". Well, they better start listening to Mr. Hunter as that was the choreography of the first goal to a "T".

Second Period
The Sharks started off the period in penalty trouble again as Vlasic took a hooking penalty followed by the team taking a too many men penalty. They killed those off successfully and that gave the Sharks some steam.

At the 7:47 mark, Ryan Clowe was able to bury a rebound that Budaj had kicked out to the middle of the slot to make the game a bit less comfortable. Budaj has got to watch his rebound control as he's just not gobbling them up like he needs to. And if you kick em out, go for the corners, not the middle of the ice.

Nabokov came up with some good saves to keep the Sharks in it, including a great save off a great play by Smyth and Stastny. Those two are clicking together nicely. They're both immensely intelligent hockey players so it's not hard for them to feed off of each other.

The Avalanche started running around a bit in their own end towards the end of the 2nd but Budaj made some good saves and they came away unscathed.

Third Period
It was the Avs turn to come out firing as they got off two quick goals in the first three minutes of play.

The first was a great rush by the 2nd line. Hejduk danced in on the right side, skipped past 3 defenders, took a shot which was blocked, corraled it back, fed it to a streaking Stastny and he made no mistake.

The second was on another excellent rush by the 2nd line. Stastny fed it to Smyth who one-timed it, then Hejduk slipped the rebound past Nabokov. Nabokov doesn't drop pucks like that often but Hejduk went to the net and we all know what happens when you do that. Good things.

Ian Laperriere and Doug Murray then had a little tilt. Lappy crushed Murray along the glass, Murray got angry and decided to go. You can't blame Murray. Down by 3 goals and gets plastered. He's gonna come up swinging.

Then things got ugly. If you're a Sharks fan. The Avalanche fired off 2 more quick goals to put the game well out of reach. It was a couple of "first" goals by Avalanche players. Marek Svatos and Ryan Smyth both broke their goose eggs on the season.

Marek Svatos got his goal off a great deflection on a Finger point shot. He looked happy/relieved/excited/tired all at once. Ryan Smyth then raced in, beat a Sharks defender to the puck behind the net, wrapped it around and ended Evgeni Nabokov's night.

The Sharks then took another penalty and out came the big guns. Actually it was Wyatt Smith and Ben Guite. They nearly cashed in too! Well, they did cash it but it was waved off. Smith crashed the net and banged home a rebound. However, the referee had blown the play dead - a very quick whistle - just as Smith banged it home. The puck actually was in before the whistle went but as the Sharks announcers mentioned, it's the intent of the referee rather than when the whistle actually goes. Fair enough.

The Sharks got one more before the game was out. A very pretty cross-crease play on the PP. Yep, the Avs gave up another cross-crease play while shorthanded. This time it was Clark who didn't pick up the man in the slot.

This was a Sharks team the Avs are not likely to see again. Turnover after turnover dogged their chances today. They couldn't generate any offensive pressure and they looked very porous on defense. They looked completely flat and had no excuse to look this flat.

However it's a win the Avalanche will take any day of the week. And they'll smile while doing it. I know I did.

- Wolski and Svatos looked good together
- Arnason is the laziest faceoff man I've seen
- the 2nd line was dynamite (Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk), combining for 10 points and 4 goals
- Hejduk is absolutely flying with the puck on his stick
- Finger was in for Skrastins
- D pairings were: Hannan-Clark; Leopold-Sauer; Liles-Finger
- Leopold had the most ice-time of any Avalanche player (22:54)
- Lappy was a hitting machine as were Guite and Finger

The Good
- PK was solid save for one lapse
- Stastny with a 5-point night
- Hejduk with 3 points
- Smyth's first goal as an Avalanche
- Sakic tying Espo (goals) and passing Hull (points)

The Bad
- Budaj's rebound control
- faceoffs are back to "terrible" status at 37%

The Ugly
- Lappy taking a poke to the eye during his fight

Related Links
Tapeleg Live Blogs (Barely) The Game
TSN Recap
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
NHL.com Scoresheet
CBSSports.com Recap
Mile High Hockey Recap


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