Buckle up people. Some of you know how I roll when I do recaps, others of you are coming to this for the first time. Let me warn the newcomers; it ain't pretty. For some reason the hockey gods have deigned that I shouldn't get to enjoy the games I review. This game was another example of that. Here's why...
After a 2nd Place Banner Raising Ceremony that thankfully wasn't televised, the boys in Burgundy came out flat and it was apparent that the early start (5 p.m. mountain) had them out of sorts. I don't really buy that excuse since this was GAME TWO, but whatever. Maybe they were worried about late roster addition Chris Pronger skating around dropping atomic elbows on everybody. Anyway, there were two actual highlights for the first period of play:
- Ryan Wilson laying out Nikolai Zherdev with a nice open ice hit a couple of minutes in (even if the TSN log has it going to Zherdev) and
- some good work on the PK at the end of the period.
The rest of the period in between was unfortunate to the point of being hilarious. During the first Colorado man advantage (for a Too Many Men call) two separate giveaways resulted in two breakaways. Craig Anderson was up to the task on the first, bailing out John-Michael Liles after a fumbled pass led to a Mike Richards breakaway. He wasn't so good on the second as Claude Giroux swept in and potted the shorty on the short-side at about the 12 minute mark after Quincey and Galiardi got in on the horrible mis-play lottery, this time at their own blueline. Another Philly penalty about three minutes later (this time a Mike Richards slash) resulted in another lackluster power play from Colorado. As the seconds ticked down, David Jones and Wilson have a horrible "pass" at the blueline and Jeff Carter was able to skate in and pot the second goal of the period just after the penalty expired.
The first period was marred by a lack of jump/effort/heart/testicular fortitude by the Avs. No team speed. Did they forget to take the pregame nap? Horrible effort levels abounded, especially on the PP's. I wish I was just talking about the breakaways that resulted, but he honest truth is that they weren't doing much when the WEREN'T turning over the puck. I wonder if anybody has seriously inquired about declining penalties. I know that's kind of a theme around these parts, but we've been suffering through a horrible power play for going on four years now. Maybe we the fans should just expect it and accept it. Embrace it like Wild fans embrace boredom or Winnipeg fans embrace pointless hope. You know, make it our own...
The second period was a little more balanced with this somewhat biased observer thinking the Avs carried the game a little at times. Andy was up to the task as he was getting shelled (15 shots in the first, 10 in the second, 13 in the third = 38!!) but the Avs at least managed as many shots as they took in the second. The first Colorado goal of this road trip came when pinching Liles tapped the puck to an isolated, spinning Brandon Yip who didn't miss with a wrister from about 15 feet. The Avs were back in it, but momentum was an equal opportunity offender throughout the rest of the period as nobody seemed to wrestle it in their favor. It became downright boring for a few stretches.
The third period started and the Avs immediately carried the play. Flyer-killer Milan Hejduk snuck a shot through Philadelphia netminder Sergei Bobrovsky's equipment 32 seconds in and it was a brand new game. Duchene drew a tripping penalty on the next shift but, stop me if you've heard this before, Colorado couldn't capitalize. Both squads seemed content to trade chances up and down the ice as the third period took on a entirely different feel than the first two. Both goalies were making some saves, but the game seemed to be coming in waves at each end of the ice. The Avalanche's first line had multiple opportunities as Chris Stewart, T.J. Galiardi and Paul Stastny seemed to be in sync (desperately in need of a photochop) for the bulk of the period. No surprise that their line was doing most of the chancing.
It wasn't until Philly's own top line got a 3-on-2 going the other way where a couple of passes between Richards, Carter, and James van Riemsdyk ended when a half-recovered Anderson kicked in a fairly harmless Carter backhand to give the Flyers the lead a little past the 17 minute mark. Anderson tried to draw a penalty shortly thereafter, but he was giving an Unsportsmanlike to negate the man advantage that was being awarded for goaltender interference. Given the way the "power" play had gone, that might have been on purpose. A face-off at the other end saw Anderson on the bench, but a face-off loss saw a Darroll Powe empty net. Game. Set. Match.
In summary (congrats if you've read this far in the recap looking for a summary), a flat start and spotting the opponent a 2-goal lead didn't work out. Shocking. Especially with a still-missing power play and consistent even-strength scoring being relegated to one line. Personally, I blame Red Wing Dave's lack of a proper preview banner.
That's from memory as I didn't take great notes at the beginning. Though at one point it appeared that Hejduk was rocking some minutes on the third line. He didn't have the strongest of first periods with a horrible turnover and an important role in the first SH breakaway. Did Dupuis play more than two minutes? Let me check....six minutes and change. No wonder I didn't see him much...
Special teams seemed like an open audition. The top six forwards and all the D got shots on either the PP or the PK at some point.
- As much as I dislike the uniprons, they don't suck lumen out of the room like Philly's traffic-cone orange.
- The homerism by the Altiboobs was apparent after the first period where they gave all the credit to an "impressive" Philly team and not the bumbling Avalanche. Whatever.
- They interviewed an Oompa Loompa during the first intermission. No surprise, Haynes and McNab LOVE him.
- Groove Subaru's new "rapping" commercial is an insult to music. All music. It physically assaulted my ears. I may never buy a Subaru, that's how bad it was. It breeds brand DISloyalty.
- There's also a new PTSD commercial on Altitude. Always good for making my hockey watching more enjoyable.
- Face-offs appeared to be better, especially Duchene who was credited with 11 of 16.
- Cumiskey seemed hurt in the first period with a shoulder stinger but returned after the commercial break.
- Foote really is a cantankerous old bastard.
- Another O-fer night on the PP (0-for-3), but this time, we got to see shorties too!!! Yay!!!
- The PK was on tonight as they shut down four different Philly power plays.
- I wonder if some of the PP gaffs in this one will get Holos a start on the road trip?
- Yip's penalty in the third was of the "good" variety. Duchene's second hooking penalty in the young season was not.
- Colorado was outshot in the first and third and ended up minus 11 on the night.
- Mrs. and the boy baked some "spooky cat" cookies between the first and the second. That's the only reason I didn't turn the game off and call it a night. Sugar tends to calm my rages.
Tomorrow night the Avs visit the land that every deity forgot as they face off against the Detroit Red Wings at 5:30 pm (MT) on VS.