Avalanche Slide Past Sabres in Shootout, Win 2-1 - Colorado Avalanche Updates, News and Game Reviews at Avs Talk

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Avalanche Slide Past Sabres in Shootout, Win 2-1


(AP Photo)
Let me get this straight. Two of the highest scoring teams in the league combine to score a grand total of *2* goals

I was wrong on taking the over, I was wrong on either teams streak ending but at least I was right on one thing - it was an exciting game!

The first period was one of the best periods of hockey I've watched this year. There was nothing that will make the highlight reel but it was all around good hockey. There were good scoring chances, solid hits and some good defensive play. It was everything hockey should be.

The Sabres got on the board first off a Daniel Paille deflection that went into the goal at a speed of approximately 1mm/sec. I waffled all game long on its stoppability. At the time of this writing, I'm giving it a 0.65 (more stoppable than unstoppable).

The Avalanche started turning up the heat in the third and were rewarded at the 13:36 mark as Jordan Leopold fired a shot from the point which bounced off two Sabres defenders and past Ryan Miller to tie the game.

Ryan Smyth was wreaking havoc in front of the net, causing Jaroslav Spacek to interfere with Miller just as the shot was released. Miller complained to the refs but I don't think a player can get called for interfering with their own goaltender.

Neither team could muster up another goal so it was off to overtime for the first time in the Avalanche's season.

And what an OT it was! The Avalanche dominated from start to finish and looked to make a case for moving exclusively to 4-on-4 hockey.

The Avalanche were very aggressive in the Sabres end and had no trouble clearing the puck out of their own. They had some great end-to-end rushes and were moving the puck around very well in the Sabres end.

However they only managed two shots on goal in that time and Ryan Miller was up to the task on both of them so it was off to the shootout.

Peter Budaj's shootout non-heroics were going through my mind but I was at peace with it. The Avs had just won four straight and had just grabbed their 9th straight point against one of the league's top teams. But Budaj and the Avs were making no such concessions.

Milan Hejduk came out first and made a silky smooth deke around Miller to take the lead. I've often given the "best hands in the NHL" title to Alexei Kovalev, but Hejduk has some soft, soft hands too.

After Kotalik evened it up, Miller and Budaj then made their next two stops on Joe Sakic and Drew Stafford respectively. Sakic needs to find a new shootout move.

Then up stepped Wojtek Goalski. Wolski made Hejduk's goal look like your out of shape neighbour grabbing their paper at 6am in their skivvies. I won't even describe it, just watch the game highlights and you'll see what I mean. I want to marry that move.

Derek Roy extended the shootout and then Marek Svatos and Tomas Vanek were both foiled. Budaj made a great second effort to keep the Vanek attempt out of the net.

Ryan Smyth then went straight in and fired a shot under Miller's armpit and all eyes turned to Budaj. Clarke Macarthur came in, tried to go high glove but even though Budaj had dropped his shoulder, he was able to bring his glove up quick enough to make the save.

And so continues the streak.

Stastny scoreless
One streak did end tonight and that was Paul Stastny's seven game point streak. Why do they even keep that guy around?

Jones graduates
David Jones improved as the game went on and found himself playing alongside Sakic during the third period. 

He was driving the net hard, drawing penalties and making some slick moves. He keeps teasing me with near-breakout performances but this could be the one.

Hit me baby, one more time
Ryan Miller is a good goalie, no doubt. But tonight the Avs padded his stats by tossing at least a dozen of their 29 shots directly into the Buffaslug.

Of course, good positioning has a part to play, but not that big a part.

Don't hit me! Don't hit me!
What was with the Sabres dodging fights all night long? In the first period, Lapperiere had his gloves off but Patrik Kaleta backed away. Then late in the third, Adam Mair popped Adam Foote square in the jaw and then skated away after Foote dropped his gloves.

Man up, guys!

Lines
Cody McCormick watched from the press box tonight as Jones drew into the lineup and Ben Guite stayed in.

The lines still have stayed very faithful since the beginning of the year which is a testament to TG not panicking when the team is struggling.

With the exception of Jones moving up to Sakic's wing late in the game, the lines were:
Wolski-Sakic-Tucker
Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
Jones-Arnason-Svatos
Mcleod-Guite-Laperriere

The fourth line wasn't a factor in this game and aside from the first period, I barely remember seeing Mcleod on the ice.

Stats
Sakic was the ice-time leader for the Avs with 24:45, followed closely by Clark and Hannan with 24:31 and 24:29 respectively.

John-Michael Liles wasn't far behind at 23:37 and had his most physical game of the year with four registered hits, a couple of those being solid shots including a nice stiff arm late in the game.

The Avalanche outhit the Sabres by a 31-15 margin led by Liles, Tucker (5) and Mcleod (4).

The RTSS guys had itchy trigger fingers tonight on giveaways and takeaways. The Avalanche had 21 giveaways and 24 takeaways while the Sabres registered 8 and 17. 

Tucker kisses the glass

Next game
The Avalanche are in Cowtown on Tuesday to play the Flames at 9:30 ET, 7:30 MT.

Offtopic
Did anyone catch the Silva-Cote fight after the game? Cote blew his knee in the third round after going longer than anyone in the UFC had against Silva. Tough luck.

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9 Comments:

Mike, (Avs Fan) said...

Awesome game, awesome win.

About the fight, I refuse to pay that much money for PPV... So I didn't watch it. Was Cote any good or was he getting worked over? Surprising he got to the third round... Silva is damn good.

horbayj said...

yah that was a pretty solid game, though i find it interesting that smytty goes it, no deke whatsoever and fires it top cheese, and sakic, with one of the most lethal bullets in the leauge, tries to dangle. i think he should skate in, pull up at the hash marks and just wire one.

as for cote, from what i heard he blew out his knee in the third round

poop*ghost said...

Nice blog, just ran across it.

Good recap on a good game. Fast paced games seem to be playing to the avs strengths - they've got defense that can shut down fast skill players and a good cycle in the offensive zone.

I got a change to go to the Oilers game on thursday and got to meet quite of a few of the players after the game. Classy guys all around.

Also saw a really funny picture of danny hinote hand-cuffed to two midgets (for 24 hours) on his bachelor party in Vegas. He was pissing.

Ackward moment, I'm sure.

Shane Giroux said...

mike, cote looked ok but he was definitely losing at the time his knee almost popped through his skin.

horbayj, yep. Sakic used that deke a couple times last season and it worked so he's stuck with it. But I think goalies are wise to him now.

Shane Giroux said...

Thanks..um...poop*ghost... :)

Congrats on getting to meet the players!

The Hinote pic sound interesting. I guess that's what happens when you marry a McCarthy sister. Things get a little wacky.

Jibblescribbits said...

FYI: the Wolski goal is over at TSN.CA, i think they have an embed feature too.

Shane Giroux said...

Thanks, jib. Just added a link.

The byline for that video is (currently) "The Avs were a perfect 3-for-3 in the shootout..."

I guess there were 15 games last night so someone was bound to mess up.

I'm just surprised I got the score right this time ;)

Jed said...

Was a great game.

The Avs goal bouncing off a skate, a helmet, and another skate was golden.

Budajs foot save B E A utiful as well :)

Shane Giroux said...

jed, yeah the Budaj save was pretty sweet. I thought for sure it was going to slide in underneath him. It was a good move to just slide his foot out calmly like that rather than making a jittery movement.

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