NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: Chris Sewart #25 of the Colorado Avalanche congratulates John-Michael Liles #4 on his first period goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 18 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The first period started out pretty chippy. Matt Gilroy had a solid hit on Cody McLeod and Marc Staal had a nasty hit on Stewart. Artem Anisimov took the heat for that and was slammed separately by Adam Foote and a little later by Stewart. Chris Stewart and Brandon Prust went after each other and recieved matching minors but nothing came of the 4 on 4. The Avs were good early and generated quite a few chances, outshooting the Rangers 12-3 twelve minutes in but Henrik Lundqvist was good and the puck was bouncy. Then they went on the power play and shock! they scored. Stewart tipped a John-Michael Liles shot. Jonas Holos was on point which let Liles sneak down a bit to the top of the circle. Until Mueller comes back, if he ever does, Holos needs to suit up just because of what he brings to the power play. John Tortorella called a timeout and the Rangers started to play hockey, earning a power play and getting some chances. The Rangers' Alex Frolov scored on a two on one while Kyle Quincey went down to try and block the pass, failed and slammed into Craig Anderson. I'm not sure Andy could have done anything, Quincey running into him or no, but...if some dman has to sit for Holos I think Quincey is at the top of my list. Shots at the end of one were 17-12 in favor of the Avs.
Rangers came out with a little more fire in the second than the Avalanche but the Avs had the best chance early when Milan Hejduk got the puck off a rebound, alone and right in front of Lunqvist. But King Henry made a hell of save. Apperantly the Rangers drew inspiration from that, hemmed the Avs in their own zone the next shift and Sean Avery drew a penalty. Shortly after killing that, Paul Stastny whacked Staal in the face and went to the box. The Rangers got some good looks on both power plays but didn't manage to convert. Ranger and Avs traded chances the rest of the way through with both Lundqvist and Andy making some saves - Andy's best was probably off of his own giveaway to Brandon Dubinsky. The game stayed a little nasty as well. T.J. Galiardi seemed to be getting a little rough to counteract the pests on the Rangers. The Rangers were the better team in the second. Shots at the end of the second: 25-22 in favor of the Avalanche.
The third started by Anisimov undressing Foote and almost scoring. Then Gali went the other way on a break away. Lundqvist saved it but Quicey slammed into him, knocking the puck in. It was waved off because of contact with the goalie, no penalty. The Avs did score a little later though. Stewart again and on the power play again! Yay for Holos! On this particular goal though it was a sweet pass from Stastny from behind the goal line that set up Stewart. On the next shift, the puck bounced through Lundqvist's crease and Daniel Winnik out hustled everyone to get to it and tap it in for his second of the year. Predictably, the Avs started to spend a lot of time in their own zone during the last half of the third but I thought they were decent defensively. The Rangers had Lundqvist pulled for nearly two minutes but the Avs couldn't score an empty netter. Is it me or are the Avs pretty bad at that? Shots at the end of the third: 34-32 in favor of the Avs.
- Holos was good again I thought. He is very good offensively and while he still a little iffy defensively, he isn't appreciably worse than the rest of the Avs defense. I doubt he will be scratched any time in the near future. Like I said, Quincey is who I think should sit but I am also okay with dressing seven.
- Hejduk seemed to break out of his funk a bit with two assists and a couple of good scoring chances.
- The Avs had a good night on face-offs, winning 60%.
- Special teams were the difference in this game. The Avs scored two power play goals on two chances and killed of five penalties.
- Frolov got the 3rd star for the Rangers but I thought that Dubinsky was the best Rangers skater.
Lines were a little strange tonight because seven defensemen were dressed. It seemed like Holos, Cumiskey and Foote were working alternating shifts together with all of them getting a lot of ice time, Cumiskey led with 20:20.
- Galiardi, Stastny, Stewart
- Jones, Duchene, Hejduk
- McLeod, O'Reilly, Winnik
- Porter, Dupuis
- Hannan, Quincey
- Liles, Wilson
- Cumiskey, Foote, Holos
Check the Blueshirt Banter for their take.