Sharks Grab Another 3-2 Win Over Avalanche - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sharks Grab Another 3-2 Win Over Avalanche

Theodore actually makes a save against the Sharks
(Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
"Oh my." That's the polite version of what came out of my mouth on the third goal let in by Jose Theodore. And wouldn't you know it, that was the one that was the eventual game winner. A stinker of a goal caused the Avalanche drop just their third home loss of the season and has likely caused fans everywhere to start calling for Theodore's head. Again.

In an otherwise even hockey game, tilted slightly in the Sharks favor but not much, Theodore was the difference in the wrong way. He could very well be playing his way back onto the bench for a long stretch of time.

The Oilers are about the win their 3rd straight game and will pull within 2 of the Avalanche who remain 3 back of division-leading Minnesota. Who knew Calgary would be the cellar dwellers in the NW this year?

First Period
The Sharks got on the board early off a bit of a flukey goal. Michalek fired a shot during a scrum in the low slot, it took a bounce off Scott Hannan and got past Theodore. I thought that one was mildly weak but was willing to give a mulligan on it.

Milan Hejduk answered back just 12 seconds later. He took a beauty feed from Kyle Cumiskey, broke down the right wing, forced the defenders to the middle, then buried a shot short side on Nabokov. He made the exact same play against Nabokov not too long ago but I can't recall the exact game. Vintage Hejduk.

T.J. Hensick took his first penalty as an Avalanche as he went off for hooking. I was a bit concerned as the Sharks lit the Avs powerplay up last game. This time though, the Avs did a good job focusing on Thornton but not losing focus on the rest of the Sharks. They got a bit of help from a quick whistle. The ref though Theo had scooped a bouncing puck but he'd whiffed on it and it was still in play. Hensick was nearly sprung out of the box but the Sharks D was there to break it up.

The Avalanche got a few chances including a nice give-and-go between Stastny and Wolski but Nabokov stood tall. Devon Setoguchi then gook a penalty giving the Avs their first powerplay chance on the night. Nabokov made a couple nice saves and the Sharks kept the #1 penalty kill in the league going strong.

Late in the period, Nabokov tossed a pick on an Avalanche forechecker by leaving his crease almost completely. Of course, if the Avalanche player hits Nabokov, he'll get whistled for goaltender interference/tripping/whatever as Nabokov was still partially in his crease. A pretty crafty play there.

Second Period
The Avs opened up with an early penalty as they were caught with too many men on the ice. Cheechoo negated that penalty halfway through on a trip. So it was 4-4 for a minute and the Sharks nearly cashed in. Pavelski took advantage of a Liles turnover and broke in alone on Theodore but Theo turned him away with a nice pad save.

Bernier then put the Sharks up again on a goal that went under Theo's arm again. Remember me bitching about that a few games back? Well, I wasn't any more pleased with it this time.

Smyth took a stupid hooking penalty a couple minutes later but the Avalanche were able to kill it off. It's like playing with fire when you take penalties against San Jose but the Avalanche were able to come away unscathed.

Third Period
The Altidudes had stats ready before the game for when the Avalanche led after the 1st and 2nd periods. I guess they were unprepared for the possibility that the Sharks might have the lead going into the second. Well, they're now 9-0-1 when leading after 2.

The Avalanche came out with some jump and were putting some good pressure on the Sharks early as they pressed for the tying goal. Richardson had an amazing chance but rang one off the post. The play started when Skrastins banged a shot off the end boards, something the Sharks had been doing all game long. Never let the visiting team use your home surroundings better than you do!

And then a terrible thing happened. Mike Grier tossed a puck at the net from just inside the blueline. It was flipping, took a bounce just in front of Theodore and jumped over his pad. Inexcusable. He had all the time in the world to get in front of that puck but choose to try and redirect it. Just a complete misread on Theodore's part.

Haynes and McNabb tried as hard as they could to find a reason why this wasn't a bad goal but gave up as the evidence was overwhelming. A puck moving 10mph with an unimpeded path from the hashmarks in made it past a Vezina-winning goaltender. It deflated me so I can't imagine what it did to the team

The Avalanche, to their credit, kept right on trucking. They fought hard, got more chances, but just couldn't get anything past Nabokov. That is until the 16:55 mark. Brad Richardson won a faceoff and Andrew Brunette, a left-handed shot on the right wing, fired the puck over a shocked Nabokov's blocker.

The Sharks then really put the defensive pressure on the Avs and it seemed to fluster them a bit. They got trapped in their own zone with possession of the puck for a long time and couldn't seem to break out. Coach Q then tossed some choice words at the ref after they called a faceoff in the Avalanche end as Q, and everyone watching the game, argued that the puck was out of play off a Shark.

Theodore then got pulled as the Avalanche gained possession in the Sharks zone. Nothing was going past Nabokov but they got a late faceoff in the Sharks zone. The Sharks called a timeout and Q drew up the play. It involved putting Hejduk, a right shot, on the right wing with Brunette and Smyth, two left shots, on the left wing. Now, if you recall the 2nd Avalanche goal was scored from a left-handed shot on the right wing right off the faceoff.

Now, I'm not saying it's a guaranteed goal but it maybe might have possibly been a good idea to try again. And if it didn't go in right away, maybe possibly arguably they could have gone for a rebound. This is all speculation of course.

Lines
Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
Wolski-Arnason-Hensick
Richardson-Smith-Brunette
Hlinka-Guite-McCormick

Clark-Hannan
Liles-Finger
Skrastins-Cumiskey

Odds and Ends
- Joe Sakic and Marek Svatos sat out with groin injuries
- the Sharks used the end boards as a playmaker
- which begs the question of why the Avalanche don't (they did once and it nearly worked)
- Craig Rivet destroyed Arnason in front of the net in the first
- early in the first Roenick tripped over the back of the net and landed on his ass...I laughed
- Ben Guite later knocked Roenick to the ice...I laughed
- it seemed like Thornton never left the ice tonight (24:10 in ice-time)
- Nabokov's equipment gives him the worst beer belly I've seen

Stats
Brett Clark and Scott Hannan led the team in ice-time with 24:30 and 23:39 respectively. Wyatt Smith had just 6:34 on the night.

Clark also had 4 blocked shots and 2 shots on the night. Jeff Finger had 4 shots and 2 hits on the night and Ben Guite had 2 hits and 3 blocked.

Kyle Cumiskey ended up being on the ice for both Avalanche goals and no Sharks goal to come away with a +2 rating and one assist.

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
TSN Recap
In the Cheap Seats Game Notes

3 Comments:

Jibblescribbits said...

He could very well be playing his way back onto the bench for a long stretch of time.

We can hope can't we? As you said he was the difference in the game tonight. It's weird to see the Avs lose 2ce 3-2 to the Sharks, but Budaj outplayed Theo by a long shot against the Sharks. I don't think you can even make a more clearcut comparison.

Shane Giroux said...

You know, it's weird because he actually made some really good saves at some key times. But then he goes and lets these weak goals in and negates an otherwise solid effort.

If he hadn't let that third goal in, this wouldn't have been a terrible game for him.

Draft Dodger said...

"Nabokov's equipment gives him the worst beer belly I've seen"

I pointed out that same thing to my wife. crazy.

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