Game 6: Avalanche 5, Flames 4 (SO)


photo courtesy of David Zalubowski/AP

There is a scene in one of my favorite spoof movies of all time---Not Another Teen Movie---in which the visiting football team, down 21-17 late in the second half, blows through the incapacitated defense of the home Wasps, crushes the arrogant quarterback Austin, intercepts the ball and scores a touchdown---all in the span of about five seconds.  The play-by-play announcer, with a giant smile on his face only broadcasters can duplicate, says "Wam! Bam! What the f-ck just happened?!"  

That line more or less sums up what happened last night during the second period, as the Avalanche erased a four-goal deficit against the Calgary Flames in the span of 13 minutes.    Ryan Smyth, Marek Svatos, Andrew Brunette and even Kurt Sauer all scored for the Avalanche.  Smyth was originally awarded with two goals during the game, but that was later changed.  Paul Stastny had three assists (13 points in 6 games).

The Avalanche went into the second period down 3-0, and each goal was their own fault.  Jordan Leopold lost his man deep in the Avalanche zone early in the first, allowing Altitude Sports man-crush Dion Phaneuf to score in the slot against Peter Budaj.  Then, John-Michael Liles decided to play Slip And Slide right into Budaj, knocking the netminder off his feet and allowing another Flames tally.  Then, to make matters worse, Joe Sakic (of all people) botched an easy pass to Scott Hannan, which was intercepted by Jerome Iginla and quickly shot past Budaj.  

Early in the second period, the Flames scored again, raising the Avalanche deficit to four goals.  It was at this point that I abandoned ship and sought therapy from my Playstation.  Little did I know there would be a comeback of epic proportions.  Eventually I returned to my Center Ice Online feed and got to watch the rest of the game starting midway in the third period.

The third period saw no goals scored, and the Avalanche defense regained their composure by playing very well in front of Jose Theodore, who replaced Budaj after the fourth goal was scored against him.  Poor Budaj can't be blamed for much---his defense was non-existent.  The blueliners decided to start playing in front of Theodore, though, and their combined efforts prevented any further Flames scoring.  Theodore had 17 saves.

Overtime proved fruitless for both teams.  In the shootout, Coach Quenneville sent Wojtek Wolski, Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic against Kipper.  Wolski scored a great goal off a hanging little fake-out and ended up in the net with the puck.  Ryan Smyth followed with an excellent wrist shot and the eventual game-winner, after Theodore stopped the first and last Flames shootout attempts.  Smyth had a superb night in general, setting a new tying the Avalanche franchise record with 12 of 11 shots on goal and being named the game's first star.

The Avalanche now draws closer to the undefeated-in-regulation Minnesota Wild, who is 5-0-1 for 11 points and first place in the Northwest Division.  The Avs play them next Tuesday in Minneapolis.  Before that, however, Colorado will face Chicago at the United Center in the first installment of a four-game road trip.  The Avalanche record on the road so far is 0-2.

Stars Of The Game:

  1. Ryan Smyth (1g, 1a)
  1. Jerome Iginla (2g, 1a)
  1. Paul Stastny (0g, 3a)
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