Avalanche Win Barn Burner 5-4 in SO - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Avalanche Win Barn Burner 5-4 in SO

Sakic skates off after recording a hat trick against the Blue Jackets
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Tonight it was your typical Avalanche-Flames matchup and damn was it exciting! I don't know what it is about these two teams but they have some amazing games with back and forth action leading me to have tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Shouts of agony and shouts of joy. It's a good thing I'm young because I don't think my heart could take this if I was older.

Be prepared for a lot of reading.

First Period
Phew. I said it about the third period against the Blues but that distinction is now owned by this period. Worst. Period. Ever. The Avalanche looked like a bush league team with their miscommunication and turnovers. The period didn't actually start too terribly but 5 minutes in, it was becoming evident that the team wasn't here to play.

The Avalanche had some early chances against Kiprusoff but he was easily up to the test. The Avs then got a powerplay which was negated by a Sakic hook which was negated by an Erikkson trip. So it was a 4-on-3 for the Avs with Stastny and Liles on the point and Brunette and Smyth up front. They had a couple chances but couldn't get past the Flames D or Kiprusoff.

Ben Guite and Wyatt Smith were showing some energy early on for the team and had a good 2-on-1 but Kipper held them off. The Flames then headed in on a 2-on-2 and had much better results. Dion Phaneuf burned right past Leopold and made a beauty move on Budaj for the first goal of the game. I know it's Phaneuf and he's a defenseman but it was obvious he wasn't stopping so I'm not sure why Leopold let up on him. Leftover feelings from their time together in Calgary?

Scott Hannan then took his turn jumping into the play but hesitated way too long and Kiprusoff made an easy save. Surprising to see Hannan jumping in like that but he's been doing it a fair bit in the last couple games. Keep that in mind, it'll come to play again before the period is out.

The Flames then made it 2-0 off a strange play. The puck took a weird bounce off the boards - which it seemed to do all night tonight - and that seemed to screw everyone up. Once the smoke had cleared, Liles had slid into Budaj and Nilson had slid the puck under Budaj. Budaj had no chance as he was gloriously interfered with by his own player trying to make a snow angel.

Ryan and Smyth and Jaroslav Hlinka both had a couple bursts down the right wing but neither were able to cash in. The chances are all coming from far out and that's not how you're going to beat Kiprusoff. Edit: I will be proven wrong about this in the second period.

Budaj then made a huge glove save on a giveaway (didn't write down who and don't care to back up and find out) and he was pissed. As soon as the play was whistled, he tossed the puck towards the faceoff circle and went for a quick skate to cool down. None of the goals were his fault and it's easy to see why he was mad. The D is just running around and doing nothing in their own zone except coughing up the puck.

And as I was marking down about miscommunication, running around, etc, the Avs showed a great example. Sakic got the puck and wanted to start a rush so he reversed to Hannan and headed up ice. But Hannan, the only D back, was already starting to jump into the rush leaving Jarome Iginla about 10 seconds to decide how to beat Budaj. And if you give Iginla that much time, he'll beat ya. What was Hannan doing jumping into the rush already with just Sakic back? Think before you jump in. It was only 2-0 at that point so there should have been no panic to get a goal.

Terrible, terrible period. Oh, and they ended it while on the PK. Thumbs up guys!

Second Period
Terrible, terrible start to this period. Iginla is handed a free shot again and beats Budaj high blocker. That was the end of Budaj's night though it was no fault of his own. Theodore comes in, fans shudder, but the Avalanche respond in a huge way.

A mere 13 seconds after the Flames fourth goal, Svatos drives hard to the net, Smyth fires and the puck ends up bouncing in off Regehr who was fighting with Svatos for position. Again and again and again it's been said by myself and people smarter than myself. Go to the net and good things happen. Right from Tiny Tots hockey through to Midget - which is much larger than Tiny Tot though you wouldn't know it to hear it - through to the big leagues. Why do the big guys forget that aspect so often?

Parker and Godard then square off as Parker tries to keep the blood flowing through the Avs veins. Parker wins the uneventful fight with some body shots and a takedown. Godard looked resigned to having to take that fight.

Lappy and Guite then tag-teamed Phaneuf in the corner. Neither went for the puck, they just waited for Phaneuf to touch it so they could crunch him. I like to see that attitude. Except when it's Phaneuf doing it.

The Flames then pulled an Avalanche and gave the puck away deep in their own zone. Stastny fed Smyth but he was denied by the post. That didn't deter Smyth though as he got the puck back shortly after, fired it from outside the circle on Kiprusoff who made the save but the rebound bounced off Erikkson and in. Yep, 2 "own goals" by the Flames tonight but it was all from hard work by the Avalanche. And on a shot from the perimeter. Guess I'll eat my words.

And if you thought the Flames were done putting the puck in their own net, shame on you! Iginla took a double-minor for high-sticking Hannan and the Avs made them pay. Brunette took the puck down low, tried a feed to Smyth in front of the net and had it bounce off Aucoin who was defending against Smyth for position. So once again, hard work in front of the net pays off.

Brunette and Stastny had an amazing chance to tie it but Stastny sent the puck wide of an open net. Have no fear though! The Avalanche continued their hard work and were again rewarded. Wolski put in a great forechecking effort causing the puck to get coughed back to the blue line. Sauer's eyes lit up and he stepped into that puck with all his might and rocketed it past Kiprusoff.

So the Avs had a huge period of their own and took a 4-4 tie into the third period.

Third Period
The Avalanche came out working hard this period. The fourth line and first line were both putting some good pressure on the Flames with some solid forechecking and cycling.

Jarome Iginla took another penalty at the 5:42 mark but the Avalanche couldn't take advantage. The Flames nearly took advantage as Lombardi appeared to have a clear break but 37-year old Joe Sakic was able to catch up to him and strip the puck. I've said before how impressed I am with Lombardi's speed and Sakic was able to match him step for step.

The Avalanche then got trapped in their own end and took a penalty of their own but successfully killed it off. Theo has settled in to a groove by now and is playing fairly well positionally.

As soon as Lappy stepped out of the box, the Avs went on a 3-on-1. It was played perfectly by the Avalanche and even more perfectly by Kiprusoff who made a game-saving stop.

Then Kurt Sauer tried to mess things up. Matthew Lombardi went streaking down the right side and Sauer had no choice but to hook him. Well actually, he could have chosen to step in front of him and knock him on his ass. Anyways, thanks to some goaltending from Theodore and blocked shots from Guite, the Avalanche were able to take the game to OT for the first time this season.

Overtime
Overtime was a pretty measured chess match by both teams. Each team had opportunities but weren't taking any crazy changes. You could tell this one was headed to a shootout early. I was actually so into the game I really didn't have any notes written down for the 5-minute OT period.

Shootout
Wolski makes good on a gorgeous move. Kiprusoff bit on the backhandmove and he pulled it back to the forehand. Almost a reverse of the famous Forsberg move.

Phaneuf gets denied trying to go high blocker on Theodore.

Smyth went in and pulled the classic "open him up on the deke and through the five-hole" move.

Iginla had the game on his stick and he came through going over Theodore's left pad.

Then Sakic had the game on his stick and he...chokes! Ok, it wasn't a huge choke job but he had Kiprusoff beat after Kipper tried a poke check. He just lifted the puck high and wide.

And finally the game was on Tanguay's stick. He needed to score to extend the shootout but Theodore stuck with him the whole way and made the save.

It's a 5-4 come from behind shootout win at home!

Overall
The Avalanche came out terribly flat in the first but were able to rebound in a huge way. This was a huge, huge comeback win and should go a long way to defining the teams capabilities, will and determination. Sure, I'd prefer they not come out and suck horribly but now they won't panic when down early on as they know they can come back. Of course, that could backfire too but I'm staying optimistic.

Stastny had 3 assists and Smyth had 2 goals, both from rebounds that went in off Calgary players. I guess that's what the Sportsnet guys took into account when giving Phaneuf the third star of the game.

Hannan led the Avs in ice-time with 26:57. Paul Stastny was right behind him with 25:12 and Clark rounded out the top 3 with 25:00.

Stastny and Smyth were +2 and Svatos was +1, the only Avs players in the + category. Arnason was the worst with a -2.

The Avs won 49% of their faceoffs, thanks mostly to Stastny winning 64% of his 25 draws. Wyatt Smith was a measly 25% with 2 wins in 8 tries.

Notables
- Wolski had a great backcheck on Iginla to strip him of the puck
- this is rumoured to be McGeough's last season as a ref
- this was Cory Sarich's 394th consecutive game
- Brunette is right behind at 377
- Theodore should stop playing the puck
- Theodore is gold in shootouts
- Phaneuf is still a dick

The Good
- COMEBACK WIN!
- Wolski was backchecking, forechecking and strong on the puck (not sure why people think he should be sent down to the AHL)
- the fourth line worked hard all night
- the first line was dangerous on nearly every shift

The Bad
- coming out to a terrible, terrible start
- running around in defensive end too much
- taking shots from perimeter on Vezina-calibre goaltender
- giving up 3 goals in first period on your home turf

The Ugly
- deserting Budaj in the first period

Related Links
In the Cheap Seats Recap
Mile High Hockey Recap
Jerseys and Hockey Love Recap
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
TSN Recap

5 Comments:

Francis Chary said...

Theo has a 1.000 save percentage! That's his best in years :P

Mike Thompson said...

Anybody clamouring for Wolski to head to the Monsters is smoking crack! He's a much better fit on the top line than Smyth was or Hlinka.

Crazy game all around. If I was Budaj, I would have given each on of my D-men a stick to the crotch for their play in the 1st. Unfortunately, my fantasy team stats now reflect Budaj's 10+ GAA...

Shane Giroux said...

Hey Francis,

Glad you're still checking out the site :)

Unfortunately Theodore gave up 4 goals against the Blues on Friday so he's sitting with a 2.35 GAA.

Still not bad!

Shane Giroux said...

Mike,

Yep, cracked out for sure. I think Wolski has been one of the hardest workers since game one. I'm impressed with how he's been using his body to protect the puck better.

Budaj is a very calm person but the look in his eyes after being forced to make that glove save...well I'd have felt like *&!t if I was on the Avs D line.

Even the fourth goal can't be solely blamed on Budaj as it was a rocket of a shot to the top corner.

Francis Chary said...

Ahh, woops. I still have a soft spot for Ol' Theo, I have to admit. I hope he finds his groove someday, whatever that is.

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