Big game tonight – the Detroit juggernaut roles into town for the first meeting of these former rivals. I'm watching the Detroit feed tonight – Ken Daniels and Larry Murphy. Interestingly, both teams are very banged up right now, and yet own the top two records since December 7th.
Chris Osgood played last night in St Louis, setting up Dominik Hasek to play tonight. Peter Budaj gets his 7th consecutive start fo the Avs.
20:00 The Guite line starts.
19:22 And they start well – they get some pressure and a couple of good hits.
19:09 Next up is the reunited Stastny line – Smyth rejoins Stastny and Hejduk.
19:07 From the crawl, it looks like Hlinka, McLeod and Svatos remains intact, while Wolski, Richardson and Brunette will be the 4th line. Not sure how much faith I can put in that, as they spelled McCormick's name wrong. Hensick and Jones are the odd men out. Actually, Richardson was activated from IR today, so I'm figuring one of them got sent down.
18:06 On D, no changes. Leopold is not returning tonight.
17:47 No Chris Chelios tonight. Bummer.
17:06 Richardson goes down rather hard after contact at center ice. I wonder how that sore shoulder is feeling right about now.
14:04 Franzen gets the first penalty of the night, for slashing.
13:54 Wolski on the point with Liles.
13:27 Smyth has a chance in front of Hasek. Hejduk feeds him, but it hits his skate instead of his stick and he ends up handcuffed.
11:59 Several chances for the Avs, but they can't convert on their first PP.
10:25 McLeod gets a good hit on someone, and then #44 for the Wings comes in and returns the favor.
10:05 Smyth's shot fools Hasek. The shot deflects wide – Hasek had no clue where it was going.
9:33 Stastny gets hauled down by Kronwall. No call.
7:04 Cleary scores. Filpula tosses it on the net, and it deflects off of Cleary going right to the net. 1-0 Detroit. On further review, it looks like it deflects off Clark's skate. Either way, we're down a goal.
6:42 The Avs go on the PP with Ellis going to the box.
6:15 Liles runs into Dan Cleary. Cleary seems to have Liles lined up pretty well, but he's the one who ends up on his ass.
5:06 This PP is not effective at all. They can’t get the puck into the zone at all.
2:55 2-0. Samuelsson drops it to Kronwall at the point. Kronwall dekes the pants off of Karlis Skrastins and then shoots it. Budaj makes the save, but the puck goes right to the stick of Filppula for an easy goal. No one is anywhere near Filppula. Perhaps that had something to with the fact that Skrastins was out at the point?
1:23 Cody McLeod! Rafalski turns it over, passing it right to Cody McLeod inside the Detroit blueline. McLeod skates in and beats Hasek for his first career goal. After the goal, he sits down next to Ben Guite, who, as you may recall, scored his first career goal against Dominik Hasek. 2-1 Detroit.
:20 Richardson hasn’t shied from contact tonight. Here, he takes Lilja hard into the boards.
0:00 This game seemed to be on the verge of veering out of control, but McLeod may have saved our bacon.
20:00 They've changed the first goal to Filppula, so he's now got 2 on the night, and 4 in the last two games.
19:27 After the first whistle, there's a wee bit more time than on the clock than normal (20:27). They get it fixed.
17:59 Svatos goes hard to the net. Hasek makes the save, and then crashes hard into the net.
17:10 I missed the Sakic news today, I guess. Hernia surgery, out for 12 weeks. That's not good news at all.
16:21 Hasek makes a great save on Guite. And that fu is rockin', Ben!
16:02 The Avs look much better so far in the 2nd.
14:04 2-2! Hlinka and McLeod race catch the Wings pinching, and break out on a 2 on 1. Hlinka veers wide of the net and shoots it, while McLeod goes hard to the net. Hasek makes the save, but Svatos, trailing on the play, gets to the loose puck and roofs it. Hasek made absolutely zero effort to get himself back into a position to make the save. Apathetic Hasek is fun to watch.
11:44 Finger seems to be hitting everything that moves tonight.
11:05 Hasek got stuck out in trapezoid land. He comes out to play the puck, but it goes behind the line. He's stuck on no-man's land, staring at a puck he can’t touch. Hejduk comes in and retrieves it, but there's no one in front for his centering pass.
9:20 Even Clark is getting in on the hitting act.
9:01 Hudler makes it 3-2. Innocent looking give-and-go between Hudler and Draper in front of Jeff Finger (on the left side, btw). Hudler laces a perfect shot at the net that beats Budaj. It had to be perfect to go in. It was.
8:02 Datsyuk almost makes it 4-2. The Avs seem to be in danger of losing it again.
7:58 During a stoppage in play, Aaron Downey can be seen jawing from the bench with Ian Laperriere on the ice. Lappy no doubt wants to give a spark to his team.
5:46 A bit of a scrum behind Hasek after a whistle. McLeod is in there, as is Liles.
4:48 Richardson is out there with Smyth and Hejduk
4:24 And Stastny shows up with Wolski and Brunette.
4:00 Liles comes all the in to behind the Detroit goal to level Hudler
:13 Hasek stacks the pads to rob Stastny in front.
0:00 3-2 Detroit after 2.
19:30 Lebda interferes with Laperriere to put the Avs on the PP. Or so say the refs – I thought that was a good play by Lebda.
18:50 Clark and Liles are out there together. I'm not sure I get this tactic – Q starts the game using 4 forwards but, as the game goes on, he'll switch to 2 D for the PPs where we really need a goal. I'm assuming he feels we've got a better chance to score with 2 D, so why wait until we're down before you go to the well?
15:30 On the off chance you need to be reminded that giveaways are a useless stat: Rafalski did not get charged with a giveaway on the McLeod goal.
10:30 Stastny feeds Hejduk in front, and Datsyuk gets his stick on it to knock it away. That looked like the equalizer there for a second.
8:32 The Avs first penalty of the game – Richardson high sticking on Samuelsson.
7:59 Guite breaks in shorthanded. He shoots it wide, but man that would have been a terrific spot to score.
3:58 Hlinka steals it, and then dishes to Svatos. Svatos carries in, loses his footing, and draws a tripping penalty against Lidstrom. Earlier in the game, the refs missed what I thought were some rather blatant penalties on the Wings. Now, though, the last 2 calls against the Wings have been bad calls. Svatos going down had absolutely nothing to do with Nick Lidstrom. Oh well, we'll take it.
2:06 Man. The Avs had a ton of chances but couldn’t get it past Hasek.
1:13 Cumiskey streaks to the net, but, as usual can’t get a decent shot off.
:54 Budaj is off.
:10 Samuelsson scores an empty netter to seal it.
0:00 A frantic last few minutes, but the Avalanche couldn't get the stupid puck past Hasek. Decent game – they had their chances to keep in it, but Detroit was just too much in the end.