The Avalanche host the Detroit Red Wings tonight – the 60th game of the year. Vs has the game – Eddie Olczyk and Joe Beninati. The Wings are 0-5-1 in their last 6 games. Just what we need – an angry team. Scratch that: an angry GOOD team.
The Avalanche are playing their last home game before the trade deadline. Who's playing their last game for the Avs at the Pepsi Center? Liles? Svatos? Brunette? Theodore?
Theodore faces off against Osgood. Between them, they've been pulled 3 times in their last 4 starts. But they are both playing against offenses that are struggling mightily – something has to give.
20:00 McLeod, Guite and Laperriere take the opening faceoff, with Skrastins and Sauer on the blueline.
19:24 The Arnason line is up next. Hannan and Leopold are the defensemen.
18:24 Hejduk, Hlinka and Brunette are the next group on the ice.
17:55 Which leaves Hensick, Smyth and Jones for the final line.
17:48 Finger takes a swing at Jiri Hudler, taking offense to the diminutive forward taking a bump on Theodore after a frozen puck.
16:58 Hlinka turns it over to Hudler in our zone. Leopold gets over to break it up.
15:02 Good shot by Guite, glove save by Osgood. Guite gets taken hard into the goal post.
14:50 Maltby skates in aggressively. Leopold gets to the puck first and attempts to cross it to Hannan…but he fans on it and it ends up being a perfect pass to Maltby. Maltby skates in, trips over Theo's pad and goes flying awkwardly into the rear boards.
14:38 Smyth off for a slash on Datsyuk. Here we go.
13:59 Lappy punishes Lidstrom into the side board. Lidstrom hits the boards at an odd angle, and is hurt. He needs help getting off the ice – he was like jelly. The classy Pepsi Center fans seem to be cheering the injury as much as the hard hit, which is just wrong.
12:39 One thing I notice from the Wings PP – they often have 3 guys back towards the blueline, who move up and back as the play develops.
7:57 Detroit scores. It's not long after the Avs were breaking 4 on 2 but turned it over. The Arnason line got stuck chasing Detroit puck carriers in our zone. Ultimately, the puck goes to Chelios on the point, who beats Theodore. Theo is giving up way too many long goals like that. Holmstrom screened Theo…but Theo wasn't showing any effort at all to fight for that puck.
7:07 Draper boards Liles into the corner. He skates over to Liles before skating off – I honestly couldn't tell if he was checking to see if Liles was ok, or talking smack. I'll just assume the latter.
6:36 Hlinka, Brunette, Hejduk, Leopold and Hannan are the PP unit.
6:07 Bruno skates in front of Osgood and dishes nicely to Leopold. Leopold can't handle the pass. Olczyk points out that Hlinka is very slow to get to the net on the play. Dogging it isn't going to help.
4:44 Downie and Lappy square off. Downie wins the fight. Lappy has some words for the Detroit bench on the way to the dressing room. Downie gets an instigating minor. Why not? It's not like we're going to make him pay for that.
3:42 Arnason skates in with the puck. He's the first Avalanche in and is facing 3 Red Wings. Instead of dumping it…he just dishes it to a Detroit player. This is maddening.
2:44 Hey, shocker – we don't convert. We had some shots though. Yay for moral victories.
1:49 Detroit's turn. McLeod off for holding.
:55 Imagine that – they score. Filppula from a sharp angle. Theodore swipes at the puck in front of him. He misses, flops to the ice…where he remains as he watches Filppula take the shot. Psst, Jose, you can get up on those…
:22 Lidstrom is out for the game. Right knee injury.
2-0 Detroit. Maybe playing to a 0-0 tie would have been a better idea.
20:00 Before the start of the period, Lappy can be seen talking to Chelios. Amicable, I'm sure.
18:11 Skrastins almost deflects the puck into the net. Theodore makes a mad scramble to make the save. Skratins is filling in well for Clark there – deflecting pucks onto our net is something Clark was prone to doing as well.
15:57 Holmstrom rings it off the post.
13:43 Maltby takes a swipe at Theodore after a frozen puck. He's met by looks of bemused indifference by Hejduk. Way to defend your teammate, Milan.
13:13 Hey, this is what we need. Not one, but two penalties. Guite goes off for a hold, and the Avalanche bench get a minor penalty as well. Super duper. 5 on 3 for Detroit.
12:40 An Lappy loses his stick. Swell.
12:18 Zetterberg scores. Datsyuk crosses to Zetterberg. Theo has no chance to get across the net. Detroit is up 3-0.
11:22 Guite breakaway. Just misses on the far side.
10:02 4-0. Three on one. Datsyuk goes wide. Meech goes to the net, and Theodore commits fully to him…but the puck goes to Zetterberg in front instead. I'm sure a certain someone is going to take offense, but I think Theodore has looked lousy tonight. Which means he fits right in with the rest of the team. Terrible game all around.
6:10 On a lousy team night, Hlinka has been noticeable in his crappy effort. Just now, he makes a bad decision with the puck, leading to yet another turnover. He's been very bad tonight.
3:36 Tripping on Hlinka. The night just keeps getting worse.
2:35 Great glove save by Theodore on Holmstrom to, um, keep us in the game.
2:06 Filppula takes either a puck or a stick to the face.
4-0 After 2. This is not fun.
19:39 Here we go. Lappy and Downey collide in the neutral zone. It's a huge collision, and Lappy falls to the ice. Downey says "fuck the code" and throws off his gloves to start swinging. Thankfully, McLeod is on the ice (and not, say, Hejduk, as he collars Downey to protect Laperriere). McLeod apparently then takes some swipes at some guys on the Detroit bench (it's out of the camera's eye). And then Babcock and Granato have words for each other from the benches. Very reminiscent of Bowman and Crawford.
19:25 McLeod was in the box, but it looks like he's getting tossed. Downey and Lappy are exchanging cookie recipes from the box. Not that it matters, but the Wings get a PP out of the deal.
17:44 Theodore has made a bunch of great saves this period. Too little, too late.
5:00 The Avs have about 4 shots this period, just for consistencies sake.
3:55 Lilja goes off for holding the stick. The comeback starts here. Or something.
1:55 We're 0 for the last 19 PP opportunities.
:21 Draper takes a run at Svatos after Svatos ran into Maltby. Just to make sure the bad blood is still flowing.
That's it. The embarrassment is over. To the shock of no one, the Wings are the team to end their scoring drought and losing streak. The Avs struggles continue.