Game Review: Avalanche 0 - Predators 4 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Game Review: Avalanche 0 - Predators 4

Arnott scores his second goal on Peter Budaj
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Well, it was not the game that fans were hoping for, that's for sure. After taking it to the Stars with some excellent offensive flair and solid defence, the Avalanche had it dealt right back to them by the Nashville Predators.

Continue on for all the gory details.

First Period
It was a rough start for the Avalanche as the Predators were all over them for the first minute. They were able to weather the storm without significant damage but it was a sign of things to come.

Just over 3 minutes in, J.M. Liles took an interference penalty and the team paid for it. Arnott set up in his usual spot just above the circle on the left side. And sure enough Zidlicky fed him one that Budaj couldn't quite hang on to and it was an early 1-0 lead.

Chris Mason then took over for the Predators as he made some excellent saves to preserve the 1-0 lead. So far, it looks like the Predators made the right call in shipping Vokoun off to Florida.

With just over 5 minutes left to play, Jason Arnott cashed in again. He came idling down the left-side - surprise! - and took a cross-crease feed from J.P. Dumont to bury it. Budaj had no chance on this one. Hannan, on the other hand, looked directly at Arnott but then looked away to locate the puck. In that time, the puck slid right through his legs to the waiting Arnott. Hannan knew darn well that he should have taken position on his man rather than sweeping for the puck.

Brunette had a glorious chance towards the end of the first but the shaft of his stick snapped and Mason made an easy save on the dribbling puck. The announcers felt it time to mention how Brunette must have been the Maytag man because nobody was near him in the slot. If you know what means, please enlighten me.

The Avalanche had a powerplay chance with 3 minutes left but generated no chances. Liles even had the audacity to ice the puck under no pressure. That's not the sign of a powerplay quarterback and I bet he heard it from the coaching staff when he got back to the bench.

Second Period
The second period started off even worse than the first as Dan Hamhuis buried another cross-crease feed at the 1:45 mark. On this one, I wasn't really sure why Budaj waited so long to kick his right pad out. I even replayed it with my awesome new PVR and couldn't find the answer. He needed to steal that goal to keep the game from running away. In his defense though, Hamhuis was wide open with all 5 Avalanche defenders playing deep on the right side.

Lappy then decided to try and spark the team a bit as he scrapped with Tootoo. I'd give the decision to Tootoo but not by much. And unfortunately it was all for naught as the team continued to play with little drive and passion.

Scott Hannan continued with some mediocre play as he got burned on the outside by Erat and and continued to look unsure of himself all night. It may be a chemistry issue with Clark, but that's not the only issue. I'll still give him some time to adjust - like, say, 3 more games - before I start to harp on him.

Erat then barreled into Clark from behind on a chase in the corner. There was no penalty called but I would have liked to see one. Clark had his back to Erat the whole way in and Erat put his fist into Clark's neck and drove him into the boards. It wasn't particularly vicious but if the NHL is serious about protecting players, it needs to be called.

Third Period
This was hard to do as I had badminton coming up shortly and was torn between finishing the game or going early and hammering some birdies. I went with a split and left with 5 minutes to go and then watched the rest from my PVR. Did I mention I love my PVR? Because I do. So much that I watched the last 5 minutes of this horrendous game because I could.

The Avs again gave up a goal within the first 5 minutes of a period as J.P Dumont tipped home a Greg Devries point shot. I never fault a goaltender for a tipped shot getting past them but this was the final straw for Budaj's night.

Tyler Weiman came in to relieve Budaj from the shellacking. And the Nashville announcers didn't even notice. It was about 5 minutes of hearing "And Budaj makes the save" until someone in the studio obviously clued them. "And Tyler Weiman in goal now..." 5 minutes after he'd came in. Well done on paying attention to the game.

At 9:30, Skrastins reversed on his way out the zone. Trouble was, nobody was back there save for Tyler Weiman - a.k.a Budaj to Terry Crisp - which led to Skrastins taking a hooking call to make up for his blunder. What is with the Avalanche reversing when nobody is there? I understand the team is still new to each other but it's getting ridiculous.

Ryan Smyth then taught Zanon a lesson after Zanon laid a solid hit on Joe Sakic. I know, I know. It was a fair hit. But it's a 4-0 game and it's Joe Sakic. You know the players will react to that. The last thing they want is the captain to get injured during the final 2 minutes of a blowout.

Weiman held on to the 4 goal disadvantage by making a few nice saves and looking sharp overall. But I don't want him to start next game. It's way too early for a goalie carousel to start in Denver.

Overall
The Avs seemed to have no spark tonight. I know it was back-to-back games and there was travel involved, but it was the second game of the season! I really expected a gutsier performance than what was shown tonight.

The fatigue showed in their effort level as well as their decision making. Passes were not crisp, plays were forced, offensive opportunities were wasted and defensive play was non-existent.

You do have to credit the Predators, and Chris Mason in particular, for showing up to play. They stepped on the gas and never let up. Mason made some amazing saves and the Predators did a good job of limiting Colorado's chances and taking advantage of their own.

Faceoffs got a bit better tonight as Sakic stepped up his game in the circle with a 56% winning percentage. Jaroslav Hlinka also took a few draws with a 67% success rate and Guite had a 60% success rate. Tyler Arnason continues to be abysmal on the draw with a 29% winning percentage. I really, really, really hope they are spending time working on this.

I expect a much better team against San Jose on Sunday afternoon.

Notables
- Sakic still has speed and strength
- Hlinka has good defensive responsibility
- Wolski was buzzing all night
- Svatos was looking to make a difference
- Chris Mason was looking spectacular

The Good
- Wolski and Svats actually had some jump

The Bad
- sloppy defensive play
- sloppy penalty kill
- sloppy passes
- sluggish effort
- getting shutout

The Ugly
- Erat's hit on Clark

Related Links
NHL.com Game Summary
TSN Recap
CBS Sports Recap
ESPN Recap
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
JibbleScribbits Recap
Mile High Hockey Recap
In The Cheap Seats Recap
Jerseys and Hockey Love Recap
Denver Post Recap
All Things Avs

2 Comments:

Mike Thompson said...

I'm officially hoping that Arneson gets yanked once Richardson is healthy. Richardson WILL win the occasional faceoff, and he has definate offensive ability, not the on-and-off style of Arneson.

Shane Giroux said...

I'd like to see Richardson in the lineup as well and if he takes Arnason's spot, I'd be ok with it.

I'm unsure that he will though as Arnason had a contract extension specifically to be center on our 3rd line. Well, nobody said that but you know that's what it was for. He's not #1 or #2 material, and he's not a #4 guy either.

That shouldn't matter when making roster decisions but I think we've seen with enough teams that it does come into play.

I think Richardson will find himself some playing time on the wing once he's back on either the 3rd or 4th line.

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