Avalanche Even Series Against Wild - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Avalanche Even Series Against Wild

The Minnesota Wild get frustrated in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Colorado Avalanche were sick of overtime and last night they put an end to it. Barely 6 minutes into the game the Avalanche were up 2-0 and they kept going from there.

By the time the smoke cleared, the score was 5-1 and the Wild were beaten down, frustrated and tired. We all knew that at some point the Wild were going to get tired.

It was mostly expected from their defense where players like Martin Skoula have been putting in 30 minutes a game. That's unsustainable for players of that calibre and it showed last night.

Jacques Lemaire called out Martin Skoula specifically saying "He probably played his worst game for the last three months."

First Period
The first period started off and one of the first things out of my mouth was "He's got Wolski playing with Guite? WTF?" And then shortly after that it was "And McLeod is with Arnason and Jones? WTF x 2"

Yes, Joel Quenneville decided to do some line juggling. Ryan Smyth has been playing well all series but was banished to a line with Tyler "Inconsistent" Arnason. To fix that, Q reunited the RPM line and moved Forsberg up to the first line with Sakic and Brunette.

And wouldn't you know it, the new #1 line helped the Avalanche get on the board early. Jordan Leopold fed Ruslan Salei who wound up and blasted one from the point. On its way to the net, Andrew Brunette got a stick on it and tipped it up and over Nik Backstrom for the early lead.

Then just a minute and a half later, Wojtek Wolski found himself unmolested - isn't that the best way to be found? - in the slot with an errant puck headed his way. He grabbed it, called his family and said "Watch this guys!" and buried it past Backstrom. Then after the goal I think he mouthed the letter F, U and Q. Not sure what that means...

Then just five minutes later, Tyler Arnason found himself alone at the blueline as a stray puck made it onto his stick. He took a couple steps and absolutely wired the puck past Nik Backstrom

Wow. So the new #1 line, the new #4 line and Tyler Arnason all stepped up early in the game.

Second Period
The Wild started a penalty box parade early in the second as Brian Rolston went off for interference. The Avs couldn't convert but the PP looked half decent.

Then at the 7:42 mark and with Todd Fedoruk in the box, the Avalanche started making this one a rout. Jordan Leopold made a nifty play at the line to keep the puck alive, fed it to Tyler Arnason who then dropped it to Ruslan Salei and BOOM!, it was 4-0. Ruslan? If you're reading this...I love you.

Things got a little rough after that as Minnesota started losing their composure.

Derek Boogard got his first of two 10-minute misconducts after Stephan Veilleux took a hooking call and Boogard decided it would be wise to fire the puck down the ice after the whistle. And then for good measure, he decided to give David Jones a shot in the shoulder on his way by. Smart moves, Boogeyman.

The Avs failed to convert on the powerplay - which was a recurring theme - but it wouldn't be the last chance they got.

Just a couple minutes after getting out of the box, Veilleux decided to cross-check Cody Mcleod and then rough him up after he was down. And Eric Belanger decided to sucker punch John-Michael Liles as well. You know, for funsies.

Thanks to Veilleux's two minor penalties, the Avalanche were able to go up 5-0. Milan Hejduk found himself at the side of the net with the puck after Ryan Smyth drove the net hard. And unfortunately for Nik Backstrom, he was at the wrong side of the net. No chance for Backstrom and the wheels officially came off for the Wild train.

The period finally played out with no more festivities. Well, unless you count the end of the period where Foote went up to Burns and gave him a bit of a talking to. Burns responded with some shoving and both ended up with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Third Period
The Avalanche headed into the third period with a 5-0 lead and admittedly, I was mildly nervous. Since the Avalanche have given up all their goals in this series during the third period and overtime you'll have to forgive me.

But after giving up an early goal, the Avalanche held the Wild off the scoresheet the rest of the way.

And that peeved the Wild off to no end. After taking 26 minutes in penalty in the second period, the Wild decided to go for the record, amassing 69 minutes in penalties in the third period.

I'm not even going to break down all the penalties lest you be reading this long into the night but I will make special note of Veilleux's gutless boarding on Paul Stastny. Great job, buddy. Certainly did your team proud.

Suffice to say that Laperriere and Veilleux dropped the gloves in a boring fight, Boogard got another misconduct, Veilleux got a few more minutes and the Avalanche powerplay failed to convert on any of those.

Penalty parade
The Wild ended the night with 101 penalty minutes including 18 minors, one fighting major and 6 misconducts.

Stephan Veilleux had 25 minutes with 5 minors, a fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct, Derek Boogard had 2 minors and 2 misconducts and both Aaron Voros and Kim Johnsson had a minor and misconduct. Brian Rolston also found himself in the box 4 separate times including a misconduct.

All I can say to that is "You stay classy, Minnesota."

Veteran leadership
The differences in leadership between the Wild and Avalanche was very evident last night. When the Wild started losing it, the Avalanche kept their cool, rarely retaliated and made the Wild look a bit ridiculous.

The Wild, on the other hand, took every opportunity to start scrums after the whistles, hack at anything that moved and generally look like a group of babies.

Maybe they didn't get enough sleep Monday night?

Lineup change
Along with the line changes Q made, he also made a lineup change. During the pre-game press conference Quenneville stated that Leopold was a "strong possibility" and had a little smirk while he said it.

And sure enough, Leopold was in and Finger was out.

Leopold ended the night with 2 assists, was a +2 and played 22 minutes. Wow, that's a lot of 2's there. He also had 4 hits and a pretty good night overall.

- yep, the notes are back
- Keith Carney acted like both an ass and a pussy last night after diving on a Tyler Arnason elbow and then beaking off and shoving Avs players after every whistle
- the VS announcers could not get any players names right last night
- Todd Fedoruk dove on Adam Foote's first period "hook"
- on an icing play, Hannan had the line but Liles took the cross-ice route and beat him to the puck
- halfway you could see Hannan go "oh screw it, you're faster than me"
- when Lappy really gets his jets going, he looks a bit like a kid who just learned how to skate (no offense)
- I still like Brent Burns' style
- Smyth continues to impress with his grit and passion
- Tyler Arnason will now fade into the annals of time after breaking out for 2 points
- my better half wondered "Why are they being such dicks?" midway through the third

Related Links
NHL.com Event Summary
ColoradoAvalanche.com Recap
In the Cheap Seats Recap
MHH Recap
TSN Recap
Denver Post Recap
RMN Avalanche Report
Avs have plenty of fight
Stastny needs to find another level
Despite insanity, Avs remain focused


Jed said...

Well I got my list mostly right from my comment in "Wild Take 2-1 Series Lead Over Avalanche".

Vs got to the feed early, the game ended in regulation, they mostly played the whole game, if only Stastny would have gotten his goal.

There is a chance I might be able to go to Game 6. Just need them to post the time to see if I can swing it on my quick trip back to CO :)

Ryan said...

"Wojtek Wolski found himself unmolested - isn't that the best way to be found?"

That was hillarious.

Shane Giroux said...

Yep, you pretty much called that one spot on jed. Stastny has been looking like he's going to break out at some point. Hopefully it's tomorrow but we know he's had some road woes this season.

Hopefully you get a chance to see the game!

Ryan, I was chuckling when I wrote that for sure :)

Jed said...

I just got off the phone with the Pepsi Center and they told me it is an evening game, they just don't know if it is 6 or 8 yet. So I got my tickets.

I just wish my trip out there was for reasons other than a Funeral.

Now the real question, do I wear my Stastny or Sakic jersey? Would be even better if I could get one of them autographed, but I have no clue where to even attempt to wait for that after the game.

Shane Giroux said...

The games at 8:00MT (10:00ET)


Sorry to hear the reason for the trip :(

As for jerseys, you've gotta go with the Sakic one ;)

Jed said...

We must be looking at different things, that is the link for last nights preview, and both areas that show game 6 still have TBD for time. Either way I have my tickets so I am fine.

Shane Giroux said...

Sorry about that Jed. I found that link from the nhl.com site but I guess it wasn't updated to be the new game. That's what I get for commenting while working ;)

Hopefully the Avs pull out another win in Minny so they can close out the series with you watching!

Jed said...

You all need to cheer hard for the Win tonight so I can see the series close and the Avs move on Saturday night. Due to horrible plane connections I will either be in an airport or on a plane for the entirety of the game tonight.

Oh and I went with the Statsny jersey. We all know Sakic is money, and I am hoping the Statsny jersey convinces him to get that elusive first goal of his playoff career.

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