Avalanche Reclaim First Place with 3-2 Win Over Oilers - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Avalanche Reclaim First Place with 3-2 Win Over Oilers

Well it's about time! It was a must-win game as the Avalanche could not afford coming off a 4 game roadtrip with 0 points to show for it.

The game was an improvement on offense and defense. They scored as many goals as they had in the 3 previous games, and allowed a mere 2 goals against in a solid road effort.

Sure, it was against the Oilers but they've been playing half-decent lately.

First Period
The Avalanche seemed to come out with a bit more jump than in previous games. They manufactured a good scoring chance around the 2:30 mark with the Wolski-Stastny-Svatos line which was flying pretty good most of the night.

The Avalanche got the first powerplay of the game it it...didn't amount to much. Brett Clark made a great block at one point. Unfortunately you shouldn't be blocking shots while on the powerplay. Arnason actually had a decent chance but fired it wide.

Karlis Skrastins, in his second game back, then jumped on a loose puck and fired a - horror of horrors! - slapshot from just inside the blueline. It found its way under Garon's pad and the Avs had an early lead on the road. That's the way to start a hockey game!

The Oil then got a chance on the powerplay as well as McCormick sat in the box for hooking. Unfortunately for them, Sam Gagner negated the powerplay with his own hooking call. After some 4-on-4 action, the Avs had a brief powerplay which amounted to nothing.

Ales Hemsky then did his magic as he screamed past Scott Hannan then forced Kurt Sauer to maul him and take a penalty. The Avs killed that one off and were led right into another powerplay as Sakic sat off hooking.

The Sakic penalty had a much quicker and less desireable outcome. Shawn Horcoff was down low, real low, and was able to catch Budaj cheating a little bit and buried a shot through is five hole. Budaj's cheating was mostly in assuming that Horcoff was going to pass out front rather than shoot.

Second Period
The Avalanche got another early powerplay, then another, then another. Almost the entire first half of the period was spent with an Oiler in the box.

Luckily, the second PP led to a goal. It wasn't officially a PP goal but it might as well have been. John Liles took a shot from the point - holy crap! - which was going wide. However Milan Hejduk was off to the side and was able to deflect it past Garon for another Avalanche lead.

It didn't take long for the Oilers to respond, which is getting to be a central theme with the Avalanche. Hemsky and Horcoff played a pretty game of give-and-go and Hemsky drilled a one-timer past Budaj.

The change in this game though, the Avalanche fought back to re-take the lead. A turnover in the neutral zone led to a quick rush by Stastny, Wolski and Svatos. Stastny fed it to Svatos who got a skate, then a stick on it, to put it past Garon. There was a brief review but even the Oiler announcers were saying it was easily a goal.

4 penalties later - two per team - and the period was over with the Avalanche taking a 3-2 lead into the third and the Oilers mustering a measly 2 shots on goal.

Oh, and Torres and Finger had a 2 second fight with Finger landing a shot on the backswing, and Torres getting the takedown. Torres is the Oilers Dion Phaneuf for me. I just don't like the guy.

Third Period
The period got off to a rocky start but Peter Budaj made a huge save on Ales Hemsky to retain the one-goal lead. Hemsky was all alone at the side of the net and Budaj looked down and out but Hemsky couldn't bury the biscuit in the basket. Phew, what a terrible line to use. Oh well, they can't all be gems.

The teams trade powerplay opportunities with Horcoff going off for holding and Smith going off for slashing. It was more like "lumberjacking" on Smith's part as he took one heck of a chop to the arm of Horcoff (or was it Stoll?)

Joe Sakic then produced a scary moment as he tripped and fell awkwardly into the boards. He got up and went off the ice but was back for his next shift. Seemed to just lose an edge there but it was definitely not his most graceful moment.

Another Avs PP, yadda yadda. Finally that was the end of the Oilers penalties. They took 9 minor penalties over the course of the game and the Avs had 6. So after a run of games where neither team took many penalties, the Avalanche got involved in a penalty-fest. And it was not terribly fun to watch.

With about 1 minute left, Garon was pulled for the extra attacker. Brunette was almost able to capitalize right away. The Oilers then got the puck deep and took a timeout. After Mac T drew up the plays, the Oilers tried to convert. However it was no dice for them today and the Avs salvaged 2 out of a possible 8 points on their road trip.


Odds and Ends
- Joni Pitkananen was in the lineup for the Oilers
- Avalanche D was much more involved in the powerplay on both pinching and shooting
- Svatos needs to tighten his helmet, he's forever readjusting it during play
- Smyth and Horcoff has some nasty looking noses
- the 3 stars picked by the fans were Hemsky, Horcoff and Garon

Brett Clark had a monster night with 28:58 in ice-time. He looked better out there tonight than the last few nights though that could be said about most of the team. Hannan was next with 25:17. McCormick only saw 3:13 and Skrastins had a limited role with just over 9 minutes on the ice.

The defense accounted for 12 of the Avalanche's 31 shots tonight. That's what I like to see! Finger led the way with 4 shots. Up front, Hejduk fired 5 times while Arnason had 4 shots as well.

The Avalanche were solid in the circle again going 57% with Wyatt Smith winning 5 of 7 and Sakic winning 9 of 13 to lead the way. Shawn Horcoff took nearly half of the draws for the Oilers, winning 44% of them.

And on a sour note, the Avalanche were 0 for 8 on the PP tonight which leaves them at 0 for 20 on their roadtrip. Ouch.

On a happy note, somebody, somewhere, is glad you exist. Oh...and the Avalanche are 1st in the NW again. If that matters to you.

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
TSN Recap
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
Jerseys and Hockey Love Recap


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