Avalanche Dethrone Kings 4-2 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Avalanche Dethrone Kings 4-2

Jaroslav Hlinka gets one past Jason Labarbera
(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Ok, I'm not sure what throne the Kings were sitting on but I felt like a cheeky headline today. The Avalanche pulled off their third straight win, and more importantly their second straight road win, with a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings last night.

The game got off to an impressive start as the Avalanche pulled off two quick goals by Ryan Smyth - a rare road PP goal - and Jaroslav Hlinka while the ice was still wet. It prompted Crawford to call a quick timeout and if my lip reading is any good, I believe he said "They must pay the price!"

The Avalanche kept the pressure on though and went up by 3 before the period was out when Paul Stastny poked home a rebound in the crease. Milan Hejduk was given about 10 years to circle around the net and take a shot. Labarbera, or Barbs as I like to call him, couldn't hang on to the puck and Stastny was there like a vulture to poke it home.

The third period kicked off with the Avs still up 3-0 and you just felt that little sense of dread. Sure enough, just 36 seconds in Dustin Brown tipped home a Rob Blake point shot to get the Kings back in it early.

Then, just over 4 minutes later Michael Handzus broke down the wing while shorthanded and fired a wrist shot past Budaj. It was the type of goal that a lot of people would have filleted Theodore over if he had given it up. In the post-game comments, Budaj said he felt Handzus fanned on it a bit as the puck wasn't flat and usually Handzus goes low blocker. Usually but not this time Peter.

That's not to take anything away from another solid performance by Peter Budaj. He terribly busy facing just 21 shots but made some decent saves including some in close plays where his composure seems light years ahead of Theodore's.

After the brief scare, the Avalanche settled down and, after an empty netter by Ben guite, walked away from the Staples Center as the Northwest Division leaders. If only by 1 point.

EDIT: After fully reading the Inside the Kings entry, I found it quite amusing how similar their thoughts echoed most Avalanche fans thought not too long ago:
"The talent is forced to play a system they're not capable of playing."
"If you fire Crawford, who replaces him?"
"Why do I continue to watch?"

Fear not Kings fans, you're not alone. But quite calling for retribution on Smyth. Last time that happened with Crow behind the bench, it wasn't pretty.

- a couple Kings players took pseudo-runs at Smyth but nothing serious
- Jack Johnson managed a couple elbows as he challenges Phaneuf for the Cheap Hit Artist of the Year award
- there was a smattering of "We Love Lappy" signs which shows just how much Laperriere means to the teams he plays for
- I hate Pacific Division games as they don't end until midnight

Brett Clark logged 28:24 in ice-time which is a bit surprising given that they're running with 7 defensemen. The speed demon Kyle Cumiskey was limited to just 9:33 last night and Jordan Leopold had a game low 8:37 for the Avalanche.

Scott Hannan was +2 on the night as he starts trying to dig himself out of +/- hell. Brett Clark was also +2, Liles and Skrastins were +1, Finger was even and Cumiskey and Leopold were -1. Tonight the +/- stats were closely correlated with ice-time for defensemen.

Shots were in abundance for the Avalanche tonight as they fired 40 shots at Labarbera. Wolski led the way with 6 while Smyth, Guite and Hejduk each had 5 as those four combined for over half the shots.

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
TSN Recap
Inside the Kings Recap


Post a Comment