Avalanche Top Flames in OT - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Avalanche Top Flames in OT

Scott Parker of the Colorado Avalanche squares off with Eric Godard of the Calgary Flames
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
Well that was a bit too close for comfort. I was just cracking the knuckles and getting ready to write another downbeat post about an Avalanche loss. But then the team turned it into a 3-2 win!

Sure, it was an OT win, meaning they only gain one point on the Flames, but it's a huge two points which the Avalanche sorely needed.

Scoring
After scoring the first goal, a Ryan Smyth backhander, the Avalanche then gave up the next two goals to head into the third period down 2-1. The team didn't look to be fighting hard enough for the equalizer in the third but that didn't stop Milan Hejduk from firing the tying goal past a screened Miikka Kiprusoff.

In overtime the Avalanche were looking good behind Joe Sakic's superb skating. Then John-Michael Liles started a rush into the zone but was tripped up by Jarome Iginla leading to an Avalanche powerplay. After continually trying for a one-timer off to Kiprusoff's right-side, it finally paid off. Hejduk's shot was deflected to Ryan Smyth who fed a behind-the-back pass to Paul Stastny. Stastny had a wide open net and finally made good on putting it home after missing a chance earlier this game as well as a chance to tie the game against Edmonton on Sunday.

Foote's Return
Adam Foote made his triumphant return to the Colorado Avalanche after an afternoon of travel on a private jet to make it to Calgary. He was on the bench with about 6 minutes left in the first period and ended the night with 18:30 in ice-time. It was his first game in so I'm not going to analyze it too hard yet but he looked very solid back there and his leadership was evident very quickly.

Odd man out?
As soon as Foote arrived at the bench, Cumiskey hardly ever left it. It's looking fairly apparent that Cumiskey is going to the odd man out once Ruslan Salei joins the team. It probably didn't help that Cumiskey backed into Theodore rather than pressuring Nolan on the go-ahead powerplay goal.

Who wants the puck?
I still want the Avalanche players to want the puck more. Don't get me wrong, they were forechecking and backchecking quite well tonight but on loose pucks they just don't seem to have that intensity and desire to get the pucks that the Flames, and other opponents, seem to have.

In any sport I've done coaching in, which is really just volleyball and hockey, the first thing I emphasize is that you need to want that puck/ball. At the end of the day, hockey is a game of puck possession. If you don't have that puck, you aren't going to win games.

Announcers
Oh, Roger Millions and John Garret. You make me want to watch the hockey game in complete silence rather than subjecting myself to your biased ramblings. If I had to hear one more dose of Millions claiming interference or hooking or tripping on completely innocent plays, I might have fired up my car, drove out to Calgary and dropped him. Fortunately for him the battery in my car is dead.

The best things they had to say about the Avalanche was in regards to Jose Theodore and John-Michael Liles, who both played solid games. Other than that, you'd think the Avalanche were the cheapest team in the league with the myriad of uncalled penalties for hooking and, most notably, interference. Hey, just because a player skates in front of another doesn't make it interference.

Oh, and the best line from him, aside from thinking Q is doing a great job? "The Avalanche player interferes with Craig Conroy, knocking him off the puck." Umm...explain to me how it's interference if Conroy was in possession of the puck? You know what, since I can't drive out there, I'll mail you a copy of the NHL rulebook.

Dion Phaneuf
And how about our resident lovechild, Dion Phaneuf? Can anyone look more constipated than he does at all times? The permascowl is really growing old and certainly doesn't intimidate anyone anymore, if it ever did. But his continued cheap shots are what really set him apart from most other douches in the league.

Ben Guite knocked Phaneuf over in his own zone in the second period and you just knew something was going to come of that. Nobody knocks over precious Dion. Nobody! And his revenge? Why it was a cheap shot boarding hit, of course. Guite was directly facing the boards, Phaneuf took a run from across the ice and plastered him from behind. Then when Sauer took exception, Phaneuf immediately came up swinging even as another Flames player tried to intercept Sauer.

There are two things I abhore in hockey. Hits from behind and Dion Phaneuf. You put those two items together and my anger knows no bounds.

Boy, I hate to seem like I'm spending the entire recap ranting but I just can't help it. Playing the Flames really seems to get my goat and most of it boils down to Phaneuf. Well, that and how every fan in attendance still wears red to the games. The Cup run is two years past guys, live in the now!

Standings
With a Wild (73 pts) loss tonight, the Avalanche (70 pts) are now 5 points back of the division leading Flames (75 pts) and are 2 points back of a playoff spot. The Wild have one game in hand on the Avalanche and the Canucks, who the Avalanche face tomorrow night, have two games in hand. The game against Vancouver tomorrow is made all the more crucial by that factor.

Lines
Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
Wolski-Sakic-Brunette
McLeod-Guite-Laperriere
Parker-Arnason-Svatos

Hannan-Foote/Sauer
Leopold-Liles
Cumiskey

The RPM line was together at all times and clicking very well scoring all 3 goals. With Parker in the lineup, Q was forced to mix the other lines throughout the game. Wolski eventually found himself back with Arnason and Svatos while Sakic found some time with Guite and Laperriere later in the game. Parker played all of 1:48 tonight.

The defence changed up a bit once Foote arrived. Cumiskey didn't see the ice much after that and Sauer and Foote seemed to alternate with Hannan who hardly left the ice tonight (28:58 in total)

Notes
- Sakic stood up for Liles after Godard drilled him (cleanly) in the 1st
- he was also flying around the ice as the game wore on and making room to fire off that wrist shot
- Parker than squared off with Godard to let him know that wasn't cool
- Phaneuf goaded McLeod in the 1st but then backed off once McLeod dropped the gloves
- Liles took a Phaneuf shot in the knee but was back out after a couple shifts
- Hejduk finally found the back of the net for the first time in the last 8 games
- the Avalanche were finishing more checks than the last few games
- Jaymison Masterbuilt donates $75 to the MS Society for each check the Flames dish out
- Liles did not dive


Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
Denver Post Recap
Rocky Mountain News Recap
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap

10 Comments:

Shane Giroux said...

Just a note, Phaneuf had the most human comments about the officiating tonight. Paraphrasing: "Sometimes the calls go your way, sometimes they don't, but you've gotta play through them"

Ok, that's one brownie point.

Rather Dashing said...

Holy crap, you were right about the announcers. I didn't get to see the game, but just watching the highlights they pissed me off. I think they called interference four times. By the way, why the heck is the Calgary feed the one that is on the Avs website? What's up with that?

Jibblescribbits said...

A great win, and it was a very much needed one.

No time to relax, another game against an important NW division foe the next night. Hopefully Peter and Salei are in the lineup

fezworth said...

Love the poll, Shane. That's gold.

Shane Giroux said...

It was very frustrating listening to those two last night, as it is every night I have the pleasure of listening to them.

Not sure about the Avs website feed but it could be that the highlights are fed straight from the NHL's site and they tend to go with the hometown feed.

jib, Dater says Forsberg will be there but won't be in the lineup. No word on Salei but I don't see why he won't be. Also, every time I type Salei, I have to go back and change it from ie to ei. The old I before E rule won't go away easily ;)

fez, glad you enjoyed :)

Jay Veaner said...

I loved the poll too Shane, totally cracked me up. You need a write in option too though. Talk to PollDaddy about that. My write-in vote...Dion Phaneuf (with Pronger not too far behind.)

Shane Giroux said...

I'm still mildly ashamed that those two are "good Canadian boys"

Jay Veaner said...

"Good" may not be the right word for those two. Is "douchy" a word?

Shane Giroux said...

If it wasn't a word before, it is now. The official definition would need just a photo of Phaneuf and Pronger holding hands. That would explain more than enough.

Jay Veaner said...

I think that would explain it all too. Agreed, wouldn't even need words in the definition, just the image. Could we incorporate Bertuzzi somehow into the whole thing? I think that would sum up the doucheness factor very well. Why is Mozilla underlining douchy and doucheness? ...they are totally words!

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